It’s as important as uniforms and stationery. A trip to the dentist should be included on the back-to-school checklist to make sure your child’s smile stays as gorgeous as it is now.
A dental check-up, examination and scale and clean before school starts is vital for ongoing oral health and the identification of anything that may balloon into a problem later on.
Another issue to consider is mouthguards. Ask your dentist if you need to update the children’s custom-fitted mouthguards. If they play football of any code, hockey, basketball or any contact sport, a properly-fitting mouthguard can minimise injury from damaged and dislodged teeth, broken jaws and cut lips. Children are constantly growing and there may or may not be a need to remake a custom-fitted mouthguard every year for optimum fit, comfort and protection. For more information on mouthguards, including first aid advice for treating a tooth injury, go to the Australian Dental Association (ADA) website – www.mouthguardawareness.info
What’s the cost of dental work?
The cost of dental work can be a significant stumbling block for many. . This is caused, in part, by a lack of clarity with pricing, as there are no standard fees for services provided by dentists or other dental professionals.
It’s worth noting though that Children in New Zealand who meet the eligibility criteria for publicly funded health and disability services are entitled to free basic oral health services from birth to 17 years of age (until their 18th birthday).
The types of services available include:
- Routine examination to check teeth for decay and look at the gums and mouth for any problems
- X-rays used to find tooth decay and other problems that can’t be seen
- fluoride treatment, which helps make the surface of the teeth more resistant to decay
- fissure sealants, which are a thin layer of white filling, painted onto teeth that are at risk of developing tooth decay
- cleaning to plaque, staining and tartar from teeth
- fillings to restore teeth that have been affected by tooth decay
- extractions to remove teeth that have been badly affected by tooth decay
Depending on other oral issues your child has, there may be some other free services available, although you will need to pay for services such as orthodontics (for example, braces).
For many issue, prevention is better than a cure, so ensure that you register your child (call 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583) as early as possible and get them into the habit of regular check ups.
Be informed not surprised
It goes without saying that the more information you have, the more prepared you are to make the best decision you can. If you are looking for a new dentist, phone ahead and get prices for a check-up and clean. Ask whether X-rays and fluoride treatment included.
Even if you’re happy with your current dentist, ask the same questions beforehand. Check the prices against other providers – you may find it’s a fair price but you need to know that.
If you need extensive work done, shop around. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. Or a third. Or even a fourth!
A little basic knowledge can help to keep your family’s dental health in tip top condition for the best possible price.