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Seven common questions people ask their family dentist

Here at Harwood Dental Care, we think it’s incredibly important to be seen as a family dentist and to welcome children, big and small, into the practice.

Our ethos is very much one of prevention and safeguarding teeth for life, and when better to introduce this message than when your children are young? With the right support, children can begin on a lifetime of good oral hygiene and healthy habits. That’s a responsibility we take very seriously.

If you’re looking for a family dentist in Bolton, you may have some questions about your child’s teeth. We’ve put together seven of the questions we commonly hear:

1. When should I first bring my child to see you?

Ideally, we would like to see your child about six months after their first tooth erupts. Even before then, you’re welcome to bring your little one into the practice when you attend your routine oral check-ups. We find that children are far less fazed by seeing the dentist if their parents treat it as a run-of-the-mill thing that everybody does. If your child sees you relaxed and calm in the dentist’s chair, they’re likely to feel reassured when their turn eventually comes around.

Dental problems can occur from an early age, so the earlier we can begin seeing your child, the better. We can help give you advice and discuss common problems such as tooth decay caused by baby bottles, as well as issues such as teething and prolonged thumb sucking. If you need some pointers for brushing your child’s teeth or, as they get older, helping them brush their own teeth, we’ll be happy to help.

2. My friend mentioned that there are paediatric dentists. Is it OK to see a general dentist?

General dentists usually take care of children’s teeth. A good family dentist will usually have plenty of experience of working with children of all ages. If we see your whole family, this can actually be beneficial because it gives us a good overview of any family medical history that could affect your child’s oral health.

3. Should I do anything special to prepare my child for their first appointment?

Our advice would be to keep things low key. If you keep telling your child not to worry or be scared, they may start to believe that there’s something about to happen that they should be worried or scared about. Of course, this isn’t the case – we’re really very friendly and non-scary!

As we’ve mentioned above, it’s a good idea if your child has seen you attend appointments because it will help them know what to expect. You might want to book a routine check-up for the whole family so that you can pop in the chair for your examination first.

Some children like to be told what to expect in advance so that there are no surprises. Others take their first visit in their stride. Please don’t worry about what we’ll think if your child cries, refuses to cooperate, or even throws a bit of a tantrum. We’re family people ourselves and we really won’t be worried. Other patients in the waiting room know we’re a family dentist, so they won’t be bothered either.

4. When will my child begin to lose his/her baby teeth?

Most children begin to lose their baby ‘milk’ teeth between the ages of four and six. They will usually lose their two middle bottom teeth first, followed by the top middle teeth. Your child may continue to lose their baby teeth until age 12 or 13, by which time all of their adult teeth should have erupted.

It’s usual for new teeth to come through in a slightly unusual position in jaw and move across to their final position as the jaw grows and other teeth are lost or grow. By bringing your child to regular check-ups, we can keep an eye on what’s happening.

5. How can I help my child look after their teeth at home?

As soon as your child’s first tooth has come through, you should begin brushing it twice a day with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste. Night-time is the most important time to brush as your child will have less saliva in their mouth while they sleep, which makes their teeth and gums a breeding ground for plaque and decay.

Make sure that you bring your child to routine check-ups and encourage them to only drink water and eat any sugary foods at the end of a main meal so that they’re not snacking throughout the day.

6. When should my child begin brushing their own teeth?

Most children can brush their own teeth with parental supervision once they are able to dress themselves. It’s a good idea to show them how you brush your own teeth and get them to copy. We usually recommend that you keep supervising your child’s brushing and flossing until they reach the age of 10, even if it’s just as a friendly voice in the bathroom to brush the bits at the back that they may have forgotten about.

7. What happens if my child has tooth decay?

Back in 2015, we blogged about the fact that children’s teeth are now at crisis point with 26,000 children in 2014 being referred to hospital because of tooth decay.

As a family dentist in Bolton, our aim is to keep your children’s teeth healthy and prevent them from becoming a tooth decay statistic during their childhood. This is why we are so passionate about promoting routine check-ups, dietary advice, and a good oral health regime.

Inevitably though, some children do experience tooth decay and require fillings or even extractions. If you have any concerns at all about your child’s teeth, we would urge you to make an appointment for your child to be seen ASAP. We can then address the problem before it gets worse.
If you’re looking for a family dentist in Bolton or you have any questions about your child’s teeth, please give us a call on 01204 304568 to book an appointment.

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