Dr Lisa Lucey from Lucey Dental Surgery answers our parents’ most frequently asked questions about children’s dental health.
From the perspective of both the parent and the dentist, early intervention is essential in dealing with key dental issues. Even as adults, we all leave that filling a little bit longer than we should. We asked Dr Lucey what are essential things you should know about children’s dental health, and when you should take your children to the dentist.
- When should I first bring my child to the dentist?
Children should be brought in for their first visit when the first of the back molars are showing, or sooner, if there are any marks in the teeth. It is good to familiarise young children with the dentist and the dental surgery at a young age, when the first visit can be a positive experience. If their first visit is a result of trauma or toothache, it can often be daunting for them.
- How many baby and permanent teeth do children get and when?
The times are outlined in the following diagram:
- When does the first tooth fall out?
The first tooth falls out naturally around the age of 6. At this time, the first permanent molars start to grow behind the ‘baby’ molars. Girls will usually experience this earlier than boys (girls are about 18 months ahead of boys dentally).
- What are fissure sealants?
Fissure sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth to protect them from tooth decay.
- Is there such a thing as ‘soft teeth’?
Hypermineralised molars are quite common and are the result of a developmental defect in the enamel which makes the teeth more vulnerable to decay if the diet is high in sugar and/or poor oral hygiene. Their symptoms include hypersensitivity, defects in tooth enamel, as well as brown and white chalky spots, which all make teeth very vulnerable to decay and breakdown. They will often require a crown and possible root canal treatment in adulthood.
Find out more about children’s dental hygiene next week in Part II