Attention parents, grandparents, guardians, and carers of children under the age of 18! Did you know that our children’s oral health is a big problem? More than one in three children will have decayed teeth before they start school – scary huh? Did you know 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 18 years?
Why is it important to get my teenager’s teeth checked before 18?
Firstly, to keep you up to date and in the know, from age 0 to Year 8 (last year of intermediate school) dental care is provided by dental therapists in a school or community dental clinic. Dental therapists provide routine dental care and oral health education to under 18-year-olds.
It is crucial that teenagers get their teeth checked before they turn 18 for reasons such as:
Regular dental checks prevent tartar building up on the teeth
Seeing a dentist early can help to avoid long-term dental health issues later on in life.
And of course, for under 18-year-olds, the standard treatment is free!
Once teenagers turn 18 and they face a dental issue the likelihood of them heading to a dentist is slim, why you ask? Because it will cost! Most 18-year-olds are working or studying at university and are not willing to part ways with their money on their teeth unless they are in pain! Be proactive and encourage them to go before they turn 18.
What is covered in the free dental care for under 18-year-olds?
Standard treatments are free and include:
- Routine examination to check teeth for decay and look at the gums and mouth for any problems
- X-rays are used to find tooth decay and other issues that can’t be seen by the eye
- Fluoride treatment, which helps to make the surface of the teeth more resistant to decay
- Fissure sealants, which are a thin layer of white filling, painted into the crevices of the teeth to prevent tooth decay in ones that are at risk
- Cleaning 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
If your child needs additional treatments, you may be referred to another oral health service provider.
Many treatments will still be free, but you’ll need to pay for some treatments – such as orthodontics (braces).
How often should I get my children’s teeth checked?
Once a year, but your dental therapist or dentist will let you know if your child needs to be seen more frequently.
How can I encourage my teenager to keep their teeth in good condition?
- Ensure they brush their teeth twice a day with regular-strength fluoride toothpaste
- Teach them how to floss
- Make sure your child has a healthy diet that is low in sugar
- Ensure that your child has regular dental check-ups from an early age
This sounds amazing – how do I get my child an appointment?
That’s simple – if they are 0-12 years old you can just call 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583) to enroll them.
You will be guided through the process and be sent forms that need to be filled in.
If your child is 13 years or older then they can see one of our friendly Switch dentists for their regular checks.
What are you waiting for!
Don’t delay getting your teenager checked before they turn 18! Remember it’s free and a quick visit to a dentist now can save your child money, time and pain later on!