Parent info

First Dental Checkup

Australian and International paediatric dental associations recommend that first dental check-ups should occur no later than 1 year of age, or within 6 months of teething.

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Paediatric dental associations worldwide recommend dental check-ups no later than 1 year of age, or within 6 months of the tooth eruption.  The first dental check-up aims to:

  1. Address your main concerns
  2. Evaluate dental development and jaw growth
  3. Detect decay and other problems early
  4. Identify risk factors for disease or poor growth e.g. feeding or oral habits, oral habits, airway and sleep disturbances,
  5. Familiarise the child to the dental setting
  6. Discuss preventive home care
  7. Provide appropriate referrals when necessary

Research has shown that children who have not had their first dental check-up beyond age 2 to 3 were more likely to have visits for fillings and emergencies.  In fact, according to the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, more than 50% of all 6 year-old children are affected by dental decay (average 2 decayed baby teeth each child) and 10% of 6 year-olds have 8 or more decayed baby teeth.

The first dental visit is an opportunity to ensure your child’s oral health starts on the right path. 

Dental treatment under sedation

Our specialist will discuss the options available for sedation and make recommendations based on the unique needs of your child.

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 For children who are very young or have special health needs, dental treatment may require sedation.  Our Paediatric dentists’ choice of sedation are:

1. Nitrous oxide sedation (happy gas)

In the dental clinic, your child will breathe a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a nose mask while dental treatment is performed.  Your child remains awake and is able to communicate with the dental team. This option is usually suitable for children who are anxious but cooperative.

2. General anaesthesia

In a specialist private hospital, your child’s consulting paediatric dentist will perform dental treatment while an anaesthetic medical team oversees the general anesthesia.  A typical session of dental treatment takes 1 to 1.5 hours, with recovery taking up to 2 hours.  It is classified as a “day-stay procedure”.

This form of sedation is often necessary for children who are unable to cooperate due to special health needs or require significant dental treatment.

To meet our specialist anaesthetists, please click here

For more information about Alexandra Specialist Day hospital please click here

Dental care for children with special needs

Our specialists are experienced in caring for children with special needs.

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Preventing oral and dental disease is particularly important for the special needs child and adolescent. Some of these children are more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease and oral trauma. Others require medications or diets detrimental to oral and dental health. Many require considerable assistance to maintain good dental care at home. Finally, sometimes the time, energy and financial resources of the family are devoted to other more pressing health problems.

Despite these hurdles, individuals with special needs now have better dental health than ever before. Increasing numbers of parents and caretakers are seeking preventive dental care for their children because it is effective in building healthy smiles.

Our paediatric dentists are experienced in caring for children with special needs. We are able to adapt our assessments and recommendations to meet the needs of your child. We aim to provide parents and carers with resources and tools to help prevent dental decay and gum disease. We also offer desensitisation techniques to help your child become a more confident dental patient. 

To help prepare your child for their dental visit, a Storybook of our clinic can be found here (link to story book) . You may like to read it to or with your child before their first visit.  Please note that there is disabled parking in the Derby Street car park with lift access to the clinic. We are also located on the ground floor and accessible by wheelchair.

White or Tooth-coloured Crowns

Tooth-coloured crowns may be desirable in some circumstances.  Your specialist will discuss the benefits and risks associated with different types of crowns, and make recommendations based on the needs of your child.

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Here are some reasons why crowns may have been recommended for your child:

A large area of decay  If a cavity is not caught early, the decay can destroy so much of the tooth structure that there is not enough left to support a filling. A crown will save the tooth and is the treatment of choice.
Nerve therapy (pulpotomy) Nerve therapy (pulpotomy) can make a tooth more susceptible to fracture and a crown is recommended.
Developmental defect or fractured tooth A crown will protect the affected tooth from further breakdown.
High risk of decay If a child is at high risk for cavities and compliance with daily oral hygiene is poor, a crown will restore the decay while protecting the remaining surfaces of the tooth.

Stainless steel crowns are one of the strongest and most durable treatment options in dentistry, saving teeth that otherwise would be lost or when other treatments fail. They last longer than fillings and cost less than other types of crowns.

However, for teeth with high visibility, some parents/ carers may prefer white or tooth-coloured crowns. These crowns are either made from zirconia or ceramic fused to metal, and are chosen based on the structure and nerve health of the tooth. Almost all teeth requiring white crowns will need to have nerve therapy, as more tooth structure removal is required. The preparation and insertion of the white crown also require a longer treatment time.

Early interceptive Orthodontics

At St George Paediatric Dental Specialists we can provide advice for your child’s orthodontic treatment needs.

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Crooked teeth or a poorly aligned bite can be a sign of poor jaw or facial growth.

Jaw and facial development is optimised by healthy airways, correct resting posture of the tongue and lips, and balanced chewing of whole foods. Frequent nasal congestion, oral habits such as dummy or thumb sucking and tongue ties have all been shown as risk factors for narrow and crowded jaws.

The causes of poor jaw growth should be identified early and addressed if possible. Our paediatric dentists will assess your child’s records and formulate customised treatment plans or timely referrals to a specialist orthodontist.

Anterior crossbite Posterior crossbite  Anterior Open Bite Forward protruding teeth Crowded uneven teeth

Tethered Oral Ties including Tongue & Lip Ties

At St George Paediatric Dental Specialists, we value a team approach when assessing and managing tongue and/or lip ties.

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Optimum function and posture of the tongue and lips are important for:

  1. Efficient breastfeeding
  2. Efficient chewing, swallowing, oral hygiene
  3. Speech articulation, projection and efficiency
  4. Optimum facial and jaw growth and development
  5. Resting Posture

Effective management of tongue and/or lip ties requires a team approach:

For infants, consultation and post-op care with a lactation consultant experienced in TOTs is crucial. We have a board-certified lactation consultant available on certain clinical days. To meet her, please click here.

For toddlers and children, any concerns should be first addressed by the appropriate health professional experienced in TOTs. It is possible that strategies other than surgery may be sufficient. These professionals may include:

  1. Speech and occupational therapist (e.g. for speech and feeding concerns)
  2. Oromyofunctional therapist (e.g. oral posture)
  3. Body workers such as osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists.
  4. Ear Nose Throat surgeon or allergy specialists (e.g. mouth breathing)

For adolescents and adults, the management of any chronic conditions will require rehabilitation beyond surgery, facilitated by other health professionals such as:

  1. Oromyofunctional therapist
  2. Body workers such as ostepaths, chiropractors and physiotherapist.
  3. Orthodontists or dentists experienced in orthodontics.
  4. Ear Nose Throat surgeon or allergy specialists