Frequently asked questions

What is a Paediatric Dentist?

A Paediatric Dentist is a registered dental specialist who must have completed at least three years of additional full time study after their general dentistry degree. This additional training is provided under the supervision and direction of specialist dental and medical staff in various hospitals and university clinics, therefore giving the Paediatric Dentist a broad range of experience in managing the diverse oral health care needs of children.

Why are baby teeth important?

Maintaining healthy Primary dentition is more important than just aesthetics, speech and function.  The primary teeth are strategically important in guiding the permanent teeth into the correct position.  When primary teeth are lost due to advanced tooth decay, space maintenance is often considered.  This involves the placement of passive orthodontic appliances (space maintainer) to assist in guiding the adult teeth as they erupt.  Preventing severe crowding due to early tooth loss is a common part of Specialist Paediatric Dentistry.

When should my child have their first visit?

The Paediatric Dentists at Bicton and Cockburn, along with the Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentists recommend that all children should have their first visit around their first birthday. This will provide parents with much appreciated anticipatory guidance regarding feeding habits, finger sucking or dummy sucking habits and oral hygiene advice. Our Paediatric Dentists will also discuss various ‘risk factors’ that may influence your child’s future risk of developing dental caries.  Even at this young age, preventive advice will be tailored to your child in an effort to reduce their future risk of dental caries.

Why treat tooth decay in baby teeth?

Restoring your child’s Primary Dentition is important for a number of reasons. Untreated tooth decay will progressively get worse and ultimately result in pain and infection (dental abscess).  This in turn can affect the development and position of the growing adult tooth.  Untreated tooth decay and space loss from the extraction of primary teeth can result in dental crowding and significant future orthodontic problems.  The presence of untreated tooth decay results in higher bacterial counts within the mouth that also leads to a high risk of recurrent decay of adjacent teeth and future permanent teeth.  Treating dental decay in primary teeth in combination with a customised preventive approach will have positive long term effects on your child’s dental health.

Why do I need a mouthguard?

Sporting accidents are one of the most common causes of dental injury.  These dental injuries may include fractured, displaced or knocked out teeth and broken jaws.  Wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard helps to absorb and spread the impact of a blow to your face, which might otherwise result in an injury to your mouth or jaw.

Which type of mouthguard should I wear?

We strongly recommend wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard to ensure maximum protection. These mouthguards are well-fitted, comfortable and will not fall out.  They will also allow you to speak clearly, and will not restrict your breathing.

Over-the-counter (boil and bite) mouthguards are far less effective than those that are custom fitted.  They may be indicated when children are wearing orthodontic appliances.  Please clarify with your paediatric dentist, which mouthguard is suitable for your child.

When do we use white fillings?

White fillings (tooth-coloured fillings) are used to treat small  carious lesions.  The benefits of this technique include aesthetics, conservatism of the tooth preparation and preventive (sealing) properties.

What are composite crowns?

Composite crowns are full coverage tooth coloured restorations that are used to treat baby incisors and canines which have multi-surface dental caries or crown fractures.  They provide a durable and highly aesthetic option to teeth which have an otherwise poor long term prognosis. Composite crowns are also used to treat permanent incisors with developmental defects such as severe enamel hypo mineralisation or microdontia (peg-lateral incisors).

What are stainless steel crowns?

Stainless steel crowns are preformed full coverage restorations that are used to treat primary and first permanent molar teeth with pre-existing dental disease.  This may include extensive dental caries that has weakened the remaining tooth structure, fractured cusps or developmental defects to the enamel.

Stainless steel crowns are also recommended to restore molars which have received pulp therapy as they provide a far superior seal and prevent the tooth from fracture, compared to other filling materials.

What are zirconia crowns?

Zirconia crowns are highly aesthetic preformed full coverage restorations that represent an alternative to a stainless steel crown.  They are used to treat baby molar teeth with pre-existing dental disease.  This may include extensive  dental caries that has weakened the remaining tooth structure, fractured cusps or developmental defects in the enamel. They are strong, durable, metal free and highly aesthetic.

What are fissure sealants?

Fissure sealants are a preventive form of dental treatment.  The technique involves the placement of a low viscosity filling material that is applied to the fissures (grooves) which are regarded as potential high risk surfaces for dental caries.

This technique is non-invasive and does not require any drilling of the tooth or administration of local anaesthesia.  They are commonly applied to permanent molars which have deep fissures, early signs of demineralisation, staining or plaque retention.