At what age should my child start Orthodontic Treatment?

This has to be one of the most commonly asked questions by concerned parents. It can be very confusing as when dropping your child off at the school gates, some children are wearing braces and some are not.
The answer is that current studies indicate that there is NO benefit to starting Orthodontic treatment early on your child—all it seems to do is prolong the duration of treatment for them , and the finish date is still roughly the same age.
So, the current recommendations are that Orthodontic treatment should be started while the second baby molar is still present and before the second adult molar comes through–this is roughly around 11-12 years of age.

For more complex cases, where the upper teeth appear more prominent than the lower teeth (buck teeth), treatment is indicated before the pre-teen growth spurt (usually 11.5 yrs for a girl, and 12.5 yrs for a boy).
If your child does not appear to have canine (eye/fang) teeth erupting or palpable, then it has been shown that some benefit may be derived from your dentist electively extracting the baby canines around 10 years of age.

Once treatment starts, your child should have regular dental check-ups, and visits to the hygienist, as their orthodontist will primarily focus on the position of the teeth, and assume that the child is having regular dental examinations with their general dental practitioners.

Which toothpaste is best for children?

The current advice is that adult toothpastes should be used for children over 2 years of age, and NO toothpaste before then. This is down to the fluoride content in the toothpastes-proprietary childrens toothpastes do not contain high enough levels of Fluoride. From a taste perspective, this presents a challenge as most children complain of a burning sensation from the general adult toothpastes (the mint and eucalyptus flavours tend to burn their sensitive and tender gums and mucosa).

Top 10 Tips for school children:

  1. For consistent cleaning, it is best to try to brush their teeth and gums at the same time every day. The first brushing should take place either before or after breakfast and older children may also rinse their mouths with an alcohol free mouthwash. The second daily brushing should be last thing before bed, with no more snacks or drinks other than water after this.
  2. Only use the recommended amount of toothpaste and ensure all teeth and gums are cleaned thoroughly. Toothpaste should not be swallowed. Older children may use different sized inter-dental brushes to clean plaque from inaccessible areas.
  3. We recommend that parents brush their young children’s teeth or help them brush their teeth until they are about six. They need to monitor their brushing until they are about ten. Toothbrushes should be changed every three months.
  4. Ensure children eat a healthy diet and reduce their intake of high sugar content foods. What goes into your child’s packed lunch can be very important as they will not have a chance to clean their teeth until they get home from school. Keep snacks between meals to low-sugar or sugar-free foods such as cheese, fruit and nuts.
  5. What your child drinks can have just as much effect on their teeth as what they eat. Milk and water are suitable drinks to quench their thirst. Beware of high energy sports drinks as they have a very high sugar content.
  6. Children should have visited our dentist before they are 3. If they haven’t been, it’s easy to arrange an appointment.
  7. Ensure their visit is a positive one. Children will often take their cue from parents when visiting our dentist. If older brothers and sisters are going to the dentist, bring their younger siblings along so they can see what’s going on, get to know the surroundings and maybe even get a go in the chair.
  8. Children’s teeth are generally checked up to 3 times by the public health dentist during primary school. Try to ensure you make it to these appointments.
  9. Children at high risk of decay may benefit from fissure sealants on back molar teeth as they come through, normally at about 6 and then again at 12 years of age
  10. If contact sports such as football, rugby, hockey or hurling are being played at the school ensure that your child has a mouthguard.

What is Fluoride and how do I know if my child is getting the correct amount?

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Fluoride is one of the best ways to help prevent against tooth decay. A naturally occurring mineral, fluoride combines with the tooth’s enamel to strengthen it. For most children the proper use of fluoride toothpaste will be sufficient to help prevent decay. For children at high risk of dental decay and without access to fluoridated water, milk, or salt, your child’s dentist may suggest using fluoride drops or mouthrinse in addition to a fluoride toothpaste.

For more info on fluoride see put link to fluoride section on new hyg info

Last month we ran a competition to select the Best Smile of 2012 from 6 of our most amazing smile transformations. Here were the nominees and the response they received on Facebook:

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Anita’s photographs had 34 Likes on Facebook, 15 shares and 63 comments!

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Martha’s photographs had 7 Likes and 1 comment on Facebook

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Kenneth’s photo graphs had 2 likes and 2 shares

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Georgina’s photographs had 25 likes, 1 share and 16 comments on Facebook

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Keith’s photograph had 103 likes, 37 shares and 117 comments on Facebook!

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John’s photographs had 1 share, 6 likes and 3 comments

So after the competition we selected our winner, Keith who won an Overnight stay in a 4 star hotel with breakfast and dinner for 2 people and an Oral B electric toothbrush (Value €350) – and here is Keith collecting his prize from us.

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We also selected one additional winner from all the votes and that lucky, random winner was Linda.

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Congratulations to both Linda and Keith, and remember to use your new tooth brushes to keep your teeth fresh and bright!