Shop 12, Northmead Shopping Centre
2–6 Campbell St, Northmead NSW 2152, Australia

Call us: (02) 9098 6488


Paediatric dentristry

For many years, probably still true these days as far as some people are concerned, dental care for a child is being viewed as doing tiny fillings in a little mouth, in a miniature sized adult. That is a very narrow and mechanistic view, and the truth is far from that.

Just as in adults, proper dental health forms a significant component in one's overall well-being. Although caries (decay) is the most common dental disease, there are other areas that can be of concern. For example, juvenille gum disease, structural and/or functional problem of the oral-nasal region. Any of these, if left untreated, can lead to significant consequences, sometimes even deadly.

Caries (decay) is a very good example. Many parents still hold the belief that baby teeth will fall out eventually anyway, therefore as long as the kid is not complaining, there is no need to fix a hole; or if the kid is complaining, simply have the tooth removed. While there are circumstances where we will recommend to just remove the offending tooth, removing the key ones too early, or too many too soon, can affect the development of the permanent dentition, or development of a child's speech and/or soft tissue functional habits (lips & tongue postures).

On the other hand, if left untreated because it has been asymptomatic, caries of a tooth can lead to the infection of the surrounding bone, then spread to the surrounding soft tissues, leading towards potentially fatal facial swelling. Facial swellings in children can and often progress at a much quicker and dramatic rate than in adults.

As caries development is often diet related, if attention is not given to address the cause, the child often carries the bad habit into adulthood, and may end up suffering life-long battles with oral health. That is why a dietary assessment is often performed in conjunction with "fixing the hole". Prevention is better than cure—so said the old saying. From economics point of view, it will be kinder to your wallet in the long run too.

Another area of paediatric dental health to be monitored, for example, is the structural and functional developments of the facial complex, particularly the lower two thirds of the face (from under the eyes to the chin). Some of the problems are genetical, some due to functional habits as the child grows, some with no known cause.

Let's say if a child is having trouble pronouncing certain words, the cause could be a structural limitation eg. tongue tied (ligament connecting the tongue to the lower jaw midline is really short) or upper jaw being very narrow and constricted, thereby limiting the ability of the tongue to fit into the right spot on the palate to produce the desired sound. In these cases, intervention from a dentist or dental specialist will be required. Speech pathology therapy alone will see extremely limited improvement. Other structural problems such as soft palate and pharyngeal wall muscle pathology, or neurological problems in the areas, will often require intervention from ENT or other medical specialists.

Alternatively, it could be a functional issue, i.e. the child has developed improper lips or tongue postures, thereby affecting speech development or sound production. Speech therapy will probably be the main treatment, with or without addition training tools that can be provided by the dentist.

Those mentioned above are just a few examples for you to ponder upon =)

Our Doctors

Briana Fang's picture
BDS (USyd)
Theresa Leong's picture
BDS (Rand), PDD ClinDent
Rachel Wong's picture
BDS (USyd)
Jaime Maung's picture
BDent(Hons) (USyd)

Opening hours

  • Monday:      9am–5pm
  • Tuesday:      9:30am–6pm
  • Wednesday: 9am–5pm
  • Thursday:    9am–5pm
  • Friday:         9am–6pm
  • Saturday:     9am–1pm
  • Sunday:       Closed

Newsletter sign up