tooth decay treatment

At Savina Clinics, we receive lots of questions about the importance of oral health for children. That is why we have compiled this Child Dental Care Frequently Asked Questions article to help answer some of the commonly asked questions about how to best care for our children’s teeth.

How can I help my child through the teething stage?

The teething stage comes with sore gums as a result of the eruption process. You can ease the discomfort by using a teething biscuit, frozen teething ring or a piece of toast. Your pharmacist can also have medication that can be rubbed on the gums to ease the discomfort.

What should I do if my child sucks his thumb?

Thumb sucking that continues beyond the eruption of permanent teeth may cause problems with the correct growth and alignment of teeth. If your child’s thumb sucking habit does not stop by the age of four, kindly visit our offices to check if any future problems may arise from the habit as well as a recommendation for the best treatment.

Baby bottle tooth decay: what is it and how can I prevent it?

Baby bottle tooth decay, popularly referred to as early childhood caries or nursing caries is a form of tooth decay in young children. This condition is caused by the frequent or long exposure of a child’s teeth to sugary liquids. These liquids include formula and breast milk, fruit juices and other sweetened drinks. To prevent this condition, avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle.

Should a space between my kid’s upper front teeth be a cause for concern?

Usually, this space closes up over the years as the other teeth erupt. However, you can visit our offices to determine whether there is any cause for alarm and to discuss treatment options should the problem persist.

What happens during my child’s first visit to the dentist?

During your child’s first dental visit, we will gently and thoroughly examine their teeth, jaws and oral tissue for any anomalies. Their teeth may will also be professionally cleaned and polished to remove any stains.

Education is another crucial part of your child’s first dental visit. We will talk to your child about their dental health in a relaxed and fun way to encourage them to take responsibility for their oral health, as well as show them how to brush their teeth properly.

child dental care in Malta

How can I prepare my child for his first dental appointment?

Parents are highly advised to make the first trip to the dentist sound like fun. Have your child create brushing and flossing charts they can be excited to show off on their first visit. Read to them the many available books that describe dental visits to children in a way they can understand. If you, as the parent, experience anxiety or fear of dentists, you are advised to answer your child’s questions in a way that does not let your worries colour your child’s experience.

Why do baby teeth need special care, yet they aren’t permanent?

It is crucial for parents to maintain the health of baby teeth. If neglected, the development of cavities may cause pain and infections and may even affect the development of permanent teeth.

Additionally, baby teeth are essential for:

  • Proper chewing and eating
  • Maintaining space for permanent teeth and guiding them into correct position
  • Aiding in the healthy development of jaw bones and muscle
  • What is the best way to clean a child’s teeth?
  • For infants, parents are advised to wipe their gums after every feed with a gauze pad or moist washcloth. Once a tooth or more appear, the parent should brush them using a smear of children’s toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush that has a small head.

When should my child start using adult toothpaste?

Your children should begin using adult toothpaste once they reach six years of age as this usually coincides with eruption of the first permanent teeth. They should use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Adult toothpastes should contain the correct amount of fluoride to protect permanent teeth- 1450ppm.

How many times a day should a child brush their teeth?

Your child should brush their teeth two times a day for two minutes, in the morning and before retiring to bed.

What causes cavities?

Dental bacteria may build up on your teeth, forming a thin, gummy colourless film known as plaque. Every time you eat something, the sugars contained in the food cause these bacteria to release acids that attack your tooth enamel. Over time, your enamel breaks down, forming a cavity.

How can I help my child avoid cavities?

Make sure your child brushes their teeth two times a day with fluoride toothpaste. They may should also floss daily to reach where regular brushing cannot reach. Also, consult your pediatric dentist about fluoride supplements that can help harden your child’s tooth enamel and make it more resistant to the decay if necessary.

Your child should avoid sugary foods and snacks and maintain a healthy diet. Finally, you should make regular appointments with your child’s dentist to check the health of their teeth as well as provide professional cleaning.

If my child gets a cavity in a baby tooth, should it still be filled?

Yes. Remember, baby teeth are vital for many things including helping your child to chew naturally, speak clearly, as well as aid in forming a path for the permanent teeth to follow when they start erupting. Additionally, tooth decay is an infection, and if not treated, it may cause pain s well as decalcifications on permanent teeth. Hence, proper care of baby teeth is crucial in enhancing your child’s oral health.

Does my child need dental sealants?

Yes. A sealant is thin, clear or tinted plastic coating that is painted on the biting surface of a tooth to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are particularly crucial for children who have a high risk for decay.

How can I protect my child’s teeth if he plays sports?

A mouthguard is an excellent way to protect your child’s teeth when playing. This equipment is made of a soft plastic material that fits securely to the shape of their upper teeth. Mouth guards help to protect your child’s teeth, gums, lips and cheeks from sports-related injuries.

When should my child have dental X-rays taken?

Dental x-rays are recommended when your child’s teeth begin to contact each other. These X-rays help to make sure your child’s permanent teeth are healthy and properly aligned as well as to detect early decay on surfaces in contact with each other.  However, if your child is at high risk of dental problems, we recommend having these x-rays conducted at an early age and more frequent intervals.

How safe are dental X-rays?

There is minimal risk involved in dental x-ray. Additionally, we are cautious to limit the amount of radiation your child is exposed to. We use high-speed films and collimators to ensure maximum safety as well as minimise the amount of radiation.

What is the best toothpaste for kids 9-13?

Tooth brushing is one of the essential tasks for good oral health. However, using the wrong toothpaste can damage your child’s smile. Hence, make sure to use toothpaste that is a well known brand that has undergone extensive testing to ensure that they are safe for kids, or else one that is recommended by your dentist.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

Start by cleaning the area around the painful tooth. After that, rinse your child’s mouth with warm, mildly salted water or use dental floss to remove wedged food or debris. If their face is swollen, or if the pain persists, visit your pediatric dentist immediately. Do not put heat or aspirin on the sore area.

What should I do if my child fractures a tooth?

Start by rinsing the child’s mouth with warm water while placing more emphasis on the injured area. Place cold compresses over the affected area on the face. Find any broken or tooth fragments and put them in milk. If your child experienced excruciating pain, contact your dentist as soon as possible.

What should I do if my child’s permanent or adult tooth is knocked out?

First, find the knocked out tooth. Handle it by the crown and not the root portion. Check the tooth for any fractures. If no fractures are found, try to reinsert the tooth back into the socket. Have your child hold it in place by lightly biting on gauze. If you are unable to reinsert the tooth, you can try to put it in some milk, or in a container containing the child’s saliva. Do not put it in water or leave it dry. After that, contact your pediatric dentist immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room since time is an essential factor if you want to save the tooth.

How often should I take my child to the dentist?

Your child should visit the dentist once every six to twelve months for a routine check-up and cleaning.

dental care for children in Malta

Have You Tried Our Free e-Consultation Service?

If you are worried about a dental related issue, interested in travelling to Malta for a dental holiday or have questions about any of the treatments we offer, please contact us using our new free e-Consultation service. One of our highly-qualified team will respond to your query as soon as possible. Our e-Consultation service is live 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday.

If you would like to schedule an in-person consultation at Savina Dental, please book your appointment using this form.

Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.

Dr Joseph Xuereb
Dental & Implant Surgeon. Principal
Savina Dental Clinics

Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.