Children have very special needs when it comes to dental treatment. Firstly, there needs to be a big emphasis on prevention so that they get the best possible start, and secondly there needs to be a lot of attention given to making sure that they don’t develop a dental phobia.
Children should be brought along to the dentist any time from 2 years old onwards. The younger they are, the more familiar they become with the setting, which in turn helps them become willing and happy patients. At Apple Dental, a young child’s first visit involves a quick peek by the dentist to make sure everything is OK, with the rest of the visit dedicated to riding the dental chair and receiving a colourful toothbrush and a lesson on how to use it. The dentist also discusses common dietary pitfalls with parents in order to minimise the development of dental problems. The experience is kept very positive with fun being the main component.
Once a child starts to get their adult teeth, at about age 5 or 6, we begin to do active treatments such as teeth cleaning and fluoride applications. Children enjoy wearing sunglasses and headphones that provide sound for the ceiling TVs whilst their treatment is carried out. Occasionally our dentists may suggest fissure sealing- a painless process of plastic-coating the deep pits and grooves in permanent molar teeth the prevent cavities forming. Children are also screened for orthodontic problems since early intervention often leads to a simpler outcome later.
Occasionally, a child may need a filling. Our approach is to use Nitrous Oxide gas, or Happy Gas, to allow a local anaesthetic injection to be carried out completely unnoticed. Once the numbness takes effect, our dentists can safely carry out tooth-coloured filling procedures while children simply lie back and watch TV.
We consider it of utmost importance to make sure children have a very positive experience because just one bad childhood experience can lead to a lifetime of dental phobia, which is a problem because those affected simply do not visit the dentist enough for their own good.