When is the right age to take children to the Dentist? When is it right to see an orthodontist?

To my dismay, I often hear parents say, “Oh but these are just milk teeth, they will drop out” or “he/she is too young to see a dentist”.

A child’s baby teeth play an important role in the growth and development of their jaws, general health and confidence as well as the position and health of their adult teeth.

The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry and Australian Dental Association recommend that your child should have their first dental visit by the age of 12 months. This may sound unnecessary, however, it is essential for early diagnosis and management of developmental conditions and lifestyle diseases such as early childhood or nursing bottle caries.

The main issues associated with infections in baby teeth include but are not limited to: damage to developing adult teeth, early extraction of baby teeth leading to crowding, poor diet impacting general growth and temperament, and in severe cases, acute infections constricting the airway and requiring emergency surgical intervention. In addition to problems associated with infections, your dentist can help address disturbances in jaw development, ENT problems as well as habit breaking for thumb sucking etc.

Parents are often deterred from taking their children to a dentist due to their own phobias. Take your child to a “kid friendly” dentist and don’t be concerned if the first visit seems “unproductive” as your child familiarizes themselves with their dentist and the clinic. We want them to build a lifetime of healthy dental habits and are committed to building a positive, friendly and trustworthy clinical environment.

There is no set age for a child to see an orthodontist and your GP will refer you when required. Orthodontic treatment may be “early treatment”, typically carried out between the ages of 8-12 and involves correcting mild jaw size discrepancies bite issues. Others may have crowding and overlapping teeth that may not be solved with early treatment and must have braces later on. Your dentist and Orthodontist will work as a team to make sure that they carry out the best management for each individual child.

Studies have shown that it is the toddlers and pre-school age children that are not part of a school dental system or receiving regular dental care privately that are often missed out and end up in hospitals requiring emergency care. I would highly recommend you take your little ones in by age 1 for regular check ups.

Dr. Damini Chawla
 
 
Dental Essence
 
 
www.dentalessence.com.sg