How old should the baby be before I bring then to see a dentist?
We recommend the earlier the better. As soon as you notice that your baby has their first tooth, this can vary from 3 to 12 months, then it is wise to bring them in for a ‘ride’ in the chair. Much like how we start the baby in the water when they are young to get them used to it, it’s a great idea to desensitise the baby from a young age, to get them used to the environment even if it is just for a quick check and not for any particular treatment.
My baby sucks their thumb and I can’t get them to stop what to do?
Digit sucking is common and difficult to treat. The rule of thumb (pardon the pun) here is that if the child sucks for at least 6 hours continuously then they can start to move teeth and cause damage. As parents there are many things that you can try, from putting chilli on their fingers, putting a long sock on their arm when they sleep, I have even heard of children having their arm cast in plaster for severe cases.
As dentists, we offer fixed solutions such as braces stuck on the back side of the upper teeth, and other oral appliances that discourage this habit.
If you are concerned at all, please speak to your dentist about it.
My childs tooth is coming out crooked is this a concern?
On average, childrens teeth start to come through at 6 months and finish around 2 years. They should have 20 baby teeth in total. Unlike in adult teeth, where gaps are undesirable, in baby teeth gaps are a good sign. As the adult teeth are wider, it means that there is more room for the other teeth to come through. Commonly, when all the teeth are straight, but there is no gaps, or if there is crowding, then this suggests that there may be a lack of space for the adult teeth. Depending on its severity, the dentist would usually wait until the child is older before commencing any active treatment. If you have a tooth that is coming out behind another tooth, then if you leave it, you will find that with time, it will sort itself out. It is something you should ask your dentist about the next time you are there, but its not an emergency by any means.
Finding a kid-compatible dentist
Keep in mind that not all dentists like or are particularly good at dealing with infant patients. It is important to find a dentist who is, and whom you are comfortable with. It is a particularly difficult part of dentistry due to the variability in co-operation of the child. Some days the child might be very well behaved, other days the same child may not want to sit in the chair at all. It is most important that we are never forceful with the child, that we never use restraint and risk potentially scarring the child for life.
It is far better to refer the child off to a specialist childrens dentist for treatment in these situations.
We see many patients with a dental phobia. And on a majority of occasions, when asked about the reasons for this, the answer is that they were traumatized at the dental surgery as a child. The memory has been carried with them for the rest of their lives. It is a particularly difficult fear to overcome for many people.