The ideal age for a child to go for a visit to the dentist is from two years, once the majority of milk teeth have come in. Children (and adults) are put under sedation, which is a mild form of anaesthetic which enables the patient to breathe on his or her own. There is also no need for numerous appointments; everything is done in one visit under sedation, making the experience more pleasant and comfortable for all concerned: the dentist, patient and parent.
Among the most popular procedures Zoli performs are fillings and extractions. If necessary, she will recommend braces from the age of 12. She will explain the proper care required, as a specialised electric toothbrush is necessary to look after the teeth.
One of the main concerns is what is known as “baby-bottle cairies”, which are holes in the teeth brought on by infants being left to sleep with a bottle. “The sugar in the milk breaks down the teeth causing many small holes; children should never be left with a bottle in their mouths when they go to sleep. The same is true of fruit juice, it is far better to dilute it 50:50 with water, and only given in small amounts.”
Sedation is not always the way forward. Another tactic Zoli makes use of is to engage with the children, play with them and teach them the value of dental care in a way they will readily understand. In this manner they are taught dental awareness from an early age, without any fear or trepidation regarding the often-dreaded “dentist’s chair”.
“And please, no suckers! Of all sweets, they are probably the worst,” she smiles.
Sugar is very bad for little teeth, and prolonged sucking on a lollipop eats away at them
Zoli always speaks to the kids about the kap mannetjies, little men who chip away at your teeth if you don’t brush them properly. A far more approachable way of explaining plaque to little people!
She also explains then importance of brushing your teeth twice a day. “Children often come in here with no knowledge of dental procedures, and leave with a better awareness of what it takes to care for their teeth correctly.
“Parents often tell me that their kids don’t want to brush their teeth, but after visiting me, they go from not wanting to, to reminding their parents that it’s time to brush. Their awareness of the correct dental upkeep has increased significantly, because they understand the importance of the correct teeth maintenance. ”
Special services require special care, and Zoli stresses the use of an electric toothbrush, brushing twice and flossing once a day, between all of the teeth. “Brushing only reaches about 60% of the teeth, so flossing is extremely important, and once you get into the habit it only takes about 20 seconds to do,” she smiles. If necessary, Zoli will recommend fluoride treatments, but this is very rare in today’s world, because everything is fortified, from the cereals the children eat to the water we drink.
Her practice also does fissure sealants, which seal the grooves of permanent teeth; and interceptive orthodontics, which is the strategic placement of a plate to make minor adjustments.
So buckle up your little ones for a trip to the dentist. Not only is dental IQ extremely important from an early age, but after having been to see Zoli, you’ll find that it isn’t quite the terrifying outing it was once thought
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