As parents, we all know that oral hygiene is important. We know our children should brush their teeth twice a day, floss regularly, eat as little sugar as possible and drink water rather than fizzy drinks or juices. And we also know they should see a dentist regularly.
But when should they see a specialist paediatric dentist? Dr Harleen Kumar throws some light on that question for us.
As a specialist paediatric dentist, how would you advise parents on what kind of dental clinician their child should see and when?
When it comes to children’s dentistry there certainly is a role that’s played by general dentists and hygiene therapists. You go to see them for routine checkups, cleans, fluoride, fissure sealants and small cavities. But there’s a whole host of circumstances where you may consider taking your child to a specialist paediatric dentist, also known as a paedodontist.
And what are those reasons?
Often parents request a consult with the highest qualified clinician available; that’s one good reason to see or be referred to a specialist paediatric dentist. At Smile Solutions we recommend you see a paediatric specialist if your child suffers from any injury to the mouth or teeth, severe overcrowding of their teeth, problems with taking care of their own dental hygiene at home, visible decay at the tender age of two, three or four, more than one serious cavity, severe tooth ache, swelling of the gums or cheeks, if they have a fear of the dentist, or any other special needs in the behavioural arena.
Our specific training and qualifications focus on the growth, development and treatment of children’s teeth. Also on preventing decay rather than treating it after it happens.
Healthy children’s teeth are the healthy adult teeth of the future, and that’s what gives us such a big responsibility as paediatric dentists.
What qualifications do you need as a registered specialist paediatric dentist?
To qualify as a registered specialist paediatric dentist in Australia you first have to acquire your general dentistry degree. Then you study for a further three to four years to obtain a masters degree or an equivalent degree in children’s dentistry.
You also need to be good at establishing children’s trust by knowing how to communicate with them in a friendly way and in the right sort of environment. That’s why at Smile Solutions we’ve located some of our paediatric services in the iconic tower in the building where our practice is based. The Manchester Unity Tower is where the Smile Solutions Tooth Fairy is said to live and visiting the tower is an ideal way to distract children when they come to see the specialist.