6 to 12 year olds

Most children start to get their adult teeth at about six years of age. However, some children don’t get their first adult tooth until after they are seven. When your child gets their new teeth, it’s important that we determine with x-rays all the other adult teeth are growing in the jaw. We also look for bite problems and ensure all teeth are clean and healthy.

By six years of age, most children will start losing their baby teeth and their adult teeth start appearing. Some children start losing their baby teeth early (i.e. 4 and a half) and some later (i.e. 7-8 years). Usually, we see the lower front incisor or the molar teeth first. However, the adult (i.e.. 6 year) molars may appear first.

Most children get this new decay on the pits and fissures of their new adult molars. However, some children do not need sealants because their pits and fissures are closed and do not catch the explorer (a dental probe used to detect signs of tooth decay).

Be aware that tooth decay is related to eating foods rich in sugar and cooked starches too often, especially foods that stay in the mouth longer because they are soft and sticky. Cavities can begin in between the teeth before you can see them. Rinsing with or drinking water after these snacks would be helpful. Therefore, your goal as a parent is to encourage moderation and to teach good food habits early on. Get them involved in planning and preparing meals. Encourage your child to drink water frequently.

There are many reasons for tooth discolouration and even healthy children can experience this. Most stains are on the tooth surface and are caused by the build-up of plaque, usually from lack of good brushing. Try adult toothpaste or a mixture of baking soda and water. If this doesn’t work, your dentist should be able to remove the stain if it is on the tooth surface.

Some discolouration is caused by disturbances that happen during tooth growth and cause stains in the enamel (hard outer covering) or the dentin (hard tissue under the enamel). Stains can also be caused by excess fluoride. In cases of childhood malnutrition, chronic illness, long term use of some medications or radiation therapy, tooth spots can result and the teeth will appear malformed (i.e. chipped or broken).

Back teeth (molars) may also be affected. By asking questions about your child’s health history and looking at the teeth, we may be able to identify the cause and suggest options to improve their appearance.

Malocclusion is a faulty bite. Most of the time, it happens because the size and shape of the teeth don’t match that of the jaws. It can also happen because the upper and lower jaws don’t match each other and the other bones of the face. A look at your child’s profile (side view of the head and face) may help you to see whether there is a problem with the growth of their jaw and facial bones.

The genetics of the parents determine jaw growth and tooth size of their children. Tooth decay of the baby teeth, premature loss of baby teeth from tooth decay and crowding are major causes of malocclusion. Premature loss of baby teeth due to lack of jaw space from erupting adult teeth also causes malocclusion.

Yes, although crowding is common, we need to consider your child’s future oral health. A child with crowded teeth and jaw problems will not necessarily have more problems as they become an adult. However, adults with crowded teeth have more problems (tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, TMJ problems) than adults with good jaw and tooth alignment.

Because adult teeth are larger than baby teeth, jaw size and growth may not provide enough space. If you still see crowding by 8-9 years when all of the four upper and four lower adult teeth have erupted, the crowding will probably not improve. For most children and adults, crowding is the most common malocclusion. Sometimes a baby tooth is lost early because of lack of jaw space for new adult teeth. If you see crowding, you should have an orthodontist or paediatric dentist examine your child.

Orthodontic treatment corrects crowding or other bite problems. Most orthodontic therapy is done around 10-12 years. However, more treatment is being done when adult teeth first appear (age 6-7 years) and even earlier for some bite problems in the baby dentition (crossbite).

Early treatment has many benefits:

  • Remove interference to proper jaw development

  • Harmonise upper and lower jaw growth and development

  • Improve direction of tooth eruption

  • Decrease risk of trauma to protruded front teeth

  • Remove traumatic bite positions to front teeth

  • Correct harmful bite habits

  • Improve aesthetics and self-esteem

  • Simplify and/or reduce treatment time for later orthodontic therapy

  • Reduce the chance for impacted permanent teeth

  • Improve some speech problems

  • Preserve space for the permanent teeth

If you would like more information on children dentistry in Sydney or dentist in Sydney please contact Smile Concepts directly by clicking here or ringing 02 9267 7777

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