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Children's Dentistry

Introduce children to dentistry early to give them a positive start to dental care. Your child's first tooth appears at around 6 months and can quickly decay without proper home care or supervision. Bring your child for a check-up between ages 1 and 2 as all their milk teeth will already be in place before they reach 3 years of age. At age 6 the permanent teeth will emerge and replace the milk teeth progressively.  As your child grows, it is also important to assess jaw development and plan for braces if needed.

Importance of your child’s first set of teeth

Many parents assume that because their children’s first set of teeth will be replaced, it is less important. However, the “milk” teeth are vulnerable to tooth decay which can lead to severe pain and infection of the underlying permanent tooth which is already in the jawbone at a very early age. In addition, if the milk teeth are lost early on, it may cause the permanent teeth to be out of alignment when they finally appear in the mouth. In severe cases, these permanent teeth have no space to enter the mouth and remain buried in the jaw bone and require surgical removal at a later stage.

Is thumb-sucking detrimental to a child’s dental development?

Many children have a habit of thumb-sucking. In addition to concerns over hygiene, if this habit persists beyond age 4, it prevents the normal growth and development of the permanent set of teeth and the jaws. This may result in the child’s permanent front teeth being unable to meet leading to speech impediment and difficulty in biting with the front teeth. This condition, known as an “anterior open bite”, persists even into adulthood and is difficult to correct without surgical intervention. As such, it is important to try to avoid the condition from happening.

At what age can children look after their teeth independently?

Parental care is necessary as all milk teeth are already in place by the time the child is 3 and may not have the ability to adequately clean his/her own teeth. A quick brush with or without toothpaste and even a wipe-down after milk or meals is adequate to prevent tooth decay.  It is important not to allow the child to bring a milk bottle to bed as this can lead to massive decay. We recommend parental supervision until age 7 or when they have understand the need to clean their own teeth and have sufficient manual dexterity.

Fissure sealants and fluoride treatment

Our teeth have natural pits and grooves and there is a tendency for food debris and germs to accumulate on them causing decay. In addition, our teeth are in close contact with each other, and are difficult to reach for a thorough cleaning. The use of a thin plastic layer to seal the grooves, and the use of fluoride to strengthen teeth will help reduce the likelihood of tooth decay. These procedures are quick, painless and effective. We recommend sealing the first adult molar when they emerge between 6 and 7. The other back teeth should also be sealed if necessary.

Child Brushing Teeth 2

At what age do children need braces?

Most children with crooked teeth start on braces at around age 12 after all their milk teeth have been replaced and their second permanent molar comes into the mouth. However in some children, the jaw is too small to accommodate all the permanent teeth and may benefit by having early treatment to expand the jaws. This involves wearing a simple removable or fixed device which stimulates the jaw to grow.  Children who have long lower jaws may also benefit though these devices, termed “functional appliances” or “orthodontic trainers” are less successful than those used to expand the jaws.

Do we need to extract teeth before wearing braces?

If there is insufficient space in the mouth to accommodate all the adult teeth, the first premolar (4th teeth from the front) are usually removed as that allows enough space for all the teeth to fit into position cosmetically and with a proper biting relationship.  However if we can intervene early enough, jaw expansion rather than extraction is preferred. In cases where the crowding is extreme, we may even extract the milk teeth early to encourage the 4th tooth from erupting early. This special treatment method, termed “serial extraction” is done less frequently and only if necessary.


What to do if your child’s permanent tooth is knocked out?

  1. Find the tooth, rinse it lightly for 10 secs & wrap it in a damp tissue or cloth

  2. Call the dentist immediately and try to arrive at your dentist within an hour

  3. Your dentist will check your child to ensure that:
    a. he does not have any other serious injury
    b. if the tooth is  suitable for re-implanting

  4. Only adult teeth can be re-implanted. In many cases,
    it may not be possible to do so.

Your child’s dental development...





  • Adult back teeth appear even before all milk teeth are lost.

  • Upper 2 front teeth appears and next to front teeth erupt by age 8

  • From age 9-12, the other 12 milk teeth are replaced by adult teeth.



  • First dental visit at 12 months

  • 6 monthly dental check-up

  • Diet advice and analysis

  • Get child used to dentist

  • Simple dental cleaning





  • 1st tooth appears at months 3-6.

  • Do not allow your child to bring a milk bottle to sleep

  • All 20 “milk” teeth will be in the mouth. Thumb-sucking habits should be stopped by age 3


  • Assessment for teeth eruption and position

  • Caries risk assessment

  • Seal fissures on adult back teeth to reduce risk of decay

  • Check jaw growth & development

  • Jaw expansion

  • Custom made sports mouthguard





  • The second last adult molar tooth erupts

  • Decision on braces

  • “Wisdom teeth” appears - often in poor position and may need surgical removal


  • Full dental assessment with 6 monthly check-ups and cleaning

  • Orthodontic referral if necessary

  • Preventative measures

  • Assess / extract wisdom teeth

Book your Dental Appointment

Contact (65) 6708 8000, (65) 9627 2227

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