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Children

Thorndon Dental is delighted to be able to offer free dentistry for adolescents, having agreed to a new contract with the Health Department.
This means all teenagers in Year 9 can receive free dental care, continuing until they turn 18 or leave school/tertiary education (whichever happens first). All regular dental care is covered under this scheme but it excludes cosmetic treatments and also excludes extractions for orthodontic reasons, and all orthodontic care that a regular dentist may provide.

Thorndon Dental considers paediatric dentistry to be an area of constant change and development.
Researchers worldwide are constantly trying to refine all aspects of dentistry to minimise time for a child to keep their mouth open, as well as improve tastes and general comfort for such small mouths.

Children respond well to honesty and information.

Today's chilren have not started with a series of bad experiences such as children from the 1950’s 1960’s and 1970’s, so clear information in a calm environment often results in great cooperation from the child.

We can inadvertently display our own fears to our children:
“Don’t worry Darling, the dentist won’t hurt you”

Firstly, the child wasn’t worried, until the parent suggested he/she should be.
Secondly, it hadn’t occurred to the child that he/she might be hurt.

We work hard to minimise any discomfort (to all patients, not just children!) and we gain willing consent from the child by explaining what is going to happen as the appointment progresses.

Sedation

Sometimes a child can be too anxious to relax enough to trust the dentist.

In these cases we can use oral sedation (in tablet or nasal spray form) as an anti-anxiety medication.
This means that the treatment remains unchanged, but the child is relaxed and able/willing to consent to having treatment.
The medication is not designed to sedate but to relax, and is commonly used by the medical community for many different reasons, in various levels of dosage.
Midazolam and Triazolam are most commonly used in dentistry.

If a child is simply unable to cooperate, despite all efforts to reassure them, then a general anaesthetic in a hospital environment may be arranged.

We don’t expect a child to tolerate placement of grommits in their ears while awake, only a 3 or 4 minute procedure, yet we expect 20-30 minutes of cooperation from a child for a dental procedure that they would consider equally invasive.
It is reasonable to consider a general anaesthetic as a viable option for a child, especially if they need an extraction or more than one restoration.

Filling materials can be different to those routinely used in adults due to the speed required to place them plus the difficulties of maintaining a dry environment in the small mouth of an impatient little one.

The enamel on baby teeth does not bond well with composite (white filling), which is why New Zealand school dental therapists are still placing amalgam (metal fillings) a lot.

Talk with your dentist about filling material options for your child – Glass Ionomer fillings are often used, especially if the baby teeth only have a couple more years until they are lost.

There are exciting new developments using stainless steel crowns (used for many decades to restore badly broken down baby teeth) but without using the drill or the need for anaesthetic.

The Hall Technique, developed for children in Glasgow, involves removing the worst of the decay by hand, painlessly, then placing a stainless steel crown filled with runny filling material over the top of the decayed tooth.
This fills the decayed space and seals it from the outside environment. It is becoming understood that if bacteria are sealed in and have no food source available, they remain dormant and inactive.

This technique is becoming widely used in the UK and is proving to have equal success compared to traditionally placed fillings – without the need for anaesthetic needles and drilling.

Needless to say, the technique has been very positively accepted by parents and the children themselves!

Thorndon Dental • 246 Tinakori Rd Thorndon Wellington • 04 472 8353
Dentists and staff include: Parm Gill Andrew McKenna Sophie McKenna Colleen Loo Hannah Kelly Michelle Rochelle hygienists Vanessa and Michelle and administration Anne