NHS dental treatment is free for children.
By closely monitoring your child’s oral health and tooth development we can advise you on the best way to prevent tooth decay and poor oral hygiene. We endeavour to diagnose problems early and keep treatment to a minimum. Also when children visit the dentist on a regular basis, we have found that we can gain their trust and compliance which enables us to treat them without causing distress.
Your child may require a number of different treatments when they go to the dentist. Some treatments help prevent tooth decay and erosion while others are used to repair damaged or decayed teeth. Some of the most common dental treatments that your child may receive are explained below.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps protect teeth from decay. Some areas of the country have fluoride added to their water supply. Fluoride is also present in many brands of toothpastes. The amount of fluoride in toothpaste is usually shown on the tube.
Children up to three years of age should use a smear of toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1,000 ppm (parts per million).
After the age of three, children should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500 ppm of fluoride.
Sometimes, children have deep fissures (crevices) or very uneven surfaces in their back teeth (molars). This makes it easier for tiny particles of food to get trapped. If your child does not brush their teeth thoroughly, bacteria may start to build up and cause tooth decay.
These are used to check for cavities or decay in the teeth and make sure that the teeth are developing in the correct position, including teeth that have not yet emerged through the gums. Sometimes a special x-ray is required (OPT) and this must be taken at your local hospital x-ray department, usually the Friarage Hospital Northallerton.
Your dentist may recommend that your child has occasional appointments with a dental hygienist.
A dental hygienist can clean and polish your child's teeth and help remove plaque (a soft, sticky substance that is produced when bacteria builds up on teeth) to reduce the risk of tooth decay. A hygienist can also:
Apply fluoride gels and solutions to your child's teeth, which also helps prevent tooth decay
If your child's tooth becomes decayed, they may need to have a filling. This involves removing all of the decay inside the tooth and filling the cavity. If the cavity is not filled, bacteria will be able to enter the tooth, which could lead to an infection. With early diagnosis these can be kept small and as pain free as possible.
Sometimes, one or more of your child's teeth may need to be taken out (extracted). This may be because they are decayed beyond repair or because their mouth is overcrowded. An extraction will be carried out using local anaesthetic (painkilling medication) to numb the tooth, gum and surrounding area. This is to ensure that your child will not feel any pain.
If your child's teeth are not lined up properly in their mouth, they may need to be fitted with a brace. A brace is a device that is used for straightening teeth. Your child will usually need to see a dentist that specialises in orthodontics, to have a brace fitted.
Sometimes, you and your child may decide to have a brace fitted to their teeth for cosmetic reasons (to improve appearance). However, this kind of treatment is normally only provided privately and you will usually have to pay for it.