Tooth decay is the most chronic health concern for children. It can lead to pain, infection, malnutrition, and premature loss of baby teeth, which can affect the development of adult teeth.
Baby teeth are important for eating a good diet, jaw growth, appearance, speech and most importantly, to keep the spacing for their adult teeth.
Baby teeth lost early due to tooth decay is the leading cause of crowding of the adult teeth.
3 to 6 years
By three years, most children have twenty primary (baby) teeth. At this stage, you want to see spacing between the teeth.
Spacing between the upper and lower front teeth will help the larger adult teeth have the space they need. If the baby front teeth are crowded, more jaw growth will be needed for the adult front teeth. Spaces in between the back teeth lessen the chance for tooth decay to develop.
If you see crowding, you should bring your child in to see us for a consultation.
Crowding is not uncommon. Because adult teeth are larger than baby teeth, jaw size and growth may not provide enough space.
Not all children who experience crowding will have dental issues as they become adults. However, if you still see crowding by 8-9 years, when all of the four upper and four lower adult incisor teeth have erupted, the crowding will probably not improve.
Adults with crowded teeth have more problems (tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, TMJ problems) than adults with good jaw and tooth alignment.
We can also offer orthodontic assessment and treatment in young children, around age six. Referred to as interceptive orthopaedics, it is based on the philosophy of early intervention to minimise the need for extensive orthodontic treatment in later years.
Not just concerned with straightening teeth to create a beautiful smile, orthodontics is focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of problems with tooth and jaw alignment.
It is important children are introduced to dental visits early – we recommend the first visit occurs when they are around three-years-old. This can help reduce anxiety about going to the dentist, plus it allows your dentist to monitor development and cleaning habits.
Good oral health habits are therefore essential and if started early, will increase the opportunity for a healthy mouth right through to adulthood.
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Please note that after school appointments are very popular, so please try to book ahead where possible.