Children’s Dentistry is a Highly Specialised Field
We choose to provide children with optimal care from a registered paediatric dentist when it comes to any of your children’s complex dentistry needs.
Paediatric dentists are registered specialists who focus on treating and caring for the special dental needs of children. They focus on the growth, development and treatment of children’s teeth, as well as decay prevention. At Smile Solutions our paediatric dentists works closely with our general dentists and dental therapists.
To qualify as a registered specialist paediatric dentist in Australia, you must complete a general dentistry degree followed by a three- to four-year Masters degree or equivalent training in children’s dentistry.
A large component of paediatric dentistry involves understanding child psychology and establishing trust through child-friendly communication styles and environments. At Smile Solutions our “teddy bear therapy” makes a visit to the dentist most enjoyable and can be the solution for already anxious children. We can also provide patient sedation or general anaesthetics for the management of special needs or a highly anxious child.
Registered Specialist Paediatric Dentists
Dr Charmaine Hall – BDSc (Melb), DClinDent (Melb)
Dr Charmaine Hall graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Science from University of Melbourne in 2001, and, since completing her doctorate in Clinical Paediatric Dentistry at the Melbourne Dental School has worked as both a registrar and a fellow at the Royal Children’s Hospital of Melbourne. As a specialist paediatric dentist, Dr Hall provides comprehensive care, with special interests in inherited and acquired developmental conditions, dental trauma, dental treatment for medically compromised children and management of oral disease during early childhood (including early childhood caries). Dr Hall is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry, the Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry and the Australian Dental Association, and is on the Advisory Committee for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Dr Heshani Kellapatha – BDS (Adel), BScDent (Hons), DClinDent (Melb)
Dr Heshani Kellapatha is a graduate of The University of Adelaide, where she obtained a Bachelor of Dental Surgery with Honours, and The University of Melbourne, where she completed her Doctorate of Clinical Dentistry in Paediatric Dentistry. Having spent several years working in rural Victoria, Heshani was employed by the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne as a general dentist. She has trained in all areas of paediatric dentistry, and has a particular interest in the care of medically compromised patients, dental trauma and the management of dental anomalies. Heshani is currently involved in teaching dental students at the University of Melbourne and is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry, the Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry and the Australian Dental Association.
Questions Often Asked about Paedodontics
Why should my child see a therapist rather than a dentist on their first visit?
A dental therapist is specifically trained to see children and adolescents. They are fully qualified and experienced in treating young people. Smile Solutions’ dental therapists either currently work within the school dental programs or have previously done so, and they are highly capable in the care of children. Our board-registered specialist paedodontist can be called upon by any of our therapists and dentists if there is a concern in relation to complex treatment or if a child presents with behavioural problems.
Should I fissure-seal my child’s baby and/or permanent teeth?
Every child is different in this regard and no one rule applies. If the treating clinician considers your child to be at high risk of decay, they may recommend sealing the tooth surfaces and hence further protecting the vulnerable deep fissures in the back teeth against decay. These fissures, which are naturally forming, are considered to be an opportunity for decay to form. They also vary greatly from child to child in shape and depth.
At what age will my child start losing their baby teeth?
While every child varies, most will start losing their teeth from around age five to six. Girls tend to lose their teeth earlier than boys. Please visit the Smile Solutions Tooth Fairy website for games, tips and exercises.
What is the best way to clean children’s teeth?
Always use a soft toothbrush, and preferably one that’s appropriate for the child’s age – for example, Stage 4 for four year olds. Electric toothbrushes are often preferable to manual. As for the type of toothpaste that’s best for children, all “junior” Colgate or Oral B products are suitable, as long as they are low foam, low mint and low fluoride.
At what age is it recommended that a child start cleaning their teeth independently?
Most children can start cleaning their own teeth from the age of five to seven. However, an adult should check that the teeth have been cleaned properly (e.g. look for signs of plaque).
Should my child be flossing their baby teeth?
Children don’t develop the manual dexterity needed for flossing until about the age of 10, so parents should floss their children’s teeth each night to prevent the formation of plaque and stop trapped food causing decay between teeth.
If my child has eaten sweets, what can I do to help prevent decay?
Try to restrict your child’s sweets intake to special occasions. It’s best to consume any sweet food in one intake, preferably straight after meal times, rather that graze or snack on sweet foods all day. Chewing sugar-free gum helps clean the teeth after consuming sweets. Rinsing with water can also be effective.
What can I do to prepare my child for their first dental visit?
Watch the Tooth Fairy Video with them. Also, it’s a good idea to take your child with you to the dentist from a young age so they become familiar with the environment and can see that you have regular dental appointments and these are a positive experience.
At what age should my child have their first dental visit?
When your child turns three you should book an appointment for them with one of our dental therapists. At this visit your child’s teeth will be counted and cleaned. We take a number of steps to ensure that this introductory visit is fun, educational and a happy experience for your child.
How much can I claim for my child’s initial check-up?
Ask your dental therapist or any of our reception staff for the relevant item codes, then contact your health insurance provider for rebates. Depending on the level of cover, your child’s visits could be fully covered by your health insurance.