Understanding children’s teeth
When babies are born, they usually have 20 primary teeth that have partly formed inside their gums. The front two upper and lower teeth usually come through (erupt) when the child is between 6 and 12 months old. Most children have a set of 20 primary teeth visible in their mouths by the time they are 3 years old.
Tooth decay can occur as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts. Parents may wonder why they should worry about decay in baby teeth since permanent teeth will replace them later anyway. The problem is that decay in primary teeth increases the risk of decay in permanent teeth. And if the decay is severe, young children can become ill quickly and require hospitalisation.
Children usually begin losing their baby teeth at around 6 or 7 years old to make space for their permanent teeth to come through. This is usually a great time for children to have an early orthodontic assessment. At around 12 years old, most children have lost all their primary teeth and in their early teenage years typically have 32 permanent teeth in place. Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the very last teeth to erupt in early adulthood.
The children's dentist Pennant Hills locals trust
Bringing your child in for a visit to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of a dental surgery early in their life is a good idea. In our experience, children are emotionally ready for their first dental check-up at about 3-4 years of age. With that being said, you can always bring them earlier if you have any concerns about their oral health or development.
When you make your appointment, let us know it’s your child’s first dental visit and we’ll arrange for a special letter to be sent to them introducing them to their dentist who’ll be taking extra special care of them!
Pro tip: morning appointments often work best for most children, while they’re still feeling rested and cooperative.
Here’s what you can expect your child’s first dentist visit to look like:
- We’ll welcome you and your little one to the practice and make you comfortable in one of our oral examination rooms.
- Their dentist will collect your child’s medical history details.
- Your child will be introduced to some things they see around them as they sit in the dental chair.
- Next, their dentist will carry out a comprehensive oral examination, checking the hard and soft tissues in their mouth.
- They’ll talk you through your child’s oral health, answer all your questions and provide you with some preventative strategies.
- If required, their dentist will discuss a recommended treatment plan. Generally, we do not start any treatment in the first appointment unless it is an emergency.
- At the end of the appointment, we’ll organise a follow-up appointment, generally 6-12 months later depending on the age of your child.
Our priority is to make your child’s first dental appointment a positive experience. So, please don’t despair if we don’t manage to get all the above done. Every child is different.
We’re more than happy for you to stop by our Pennant Hills Dental Centre to check it out, even if you don’t have an appointment that day. Visiting in person with your child before their appointment can help reassure them about where they’ll be coming for their first dental visit. You can even consider bringing your little one with you to your own dental appointment (if you’re a relaxed patient) to have them experience the sights and smells and witness the dentist treat you.
At home, you can practice your child’s first dental appointment with them by lying on the bed, getting them to open their mouth and then counting their teeth. This can also give you a great opportunity to have a brief look around their mouth to identify if there’s anything specific you would like us to check on.
When preparing your child for their first visit to the dentist, it’s important to remember that your attitude is essential to their experience. Children can easily perceive the energy and feelings of their parents. So, if you’re relaxed, your child is likely to be relaxed too.
This scheme, introduced by the Government, aims to improve the oral health of children in Australia aged 2 to 7 years old. Through the CDBS, eligible children can access $1,000 in benefits on select dental care and treatments over a 2 year period. You can check if your child is eligible here, or our Pennant Hills Dental Centre team can help you with this when your child comes in for their next check-up.