Sourcing the best dental care for your child is something close to the heart of any concerned parent and the right combination of regular check-ups, a healthy diet and a strict hygiene regime can result in teeth which stay strong, white and healthy throughout your child’s life. Finding a dentist who makes it their business to stay abreast of the latest developments in the field will mean that you’re always aware of both cutting edge treatments and the risks imposed by various different factors. See What Research Say: Research recently carried out at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, for example, has uncovered a link between local anaesthetic administered to young children via injections into the gums and missing wisdom teeth. The children in question were aged between two and six, and the problems are thought to be caused by the fact that, unlike other teeth, the wisdom teeth do not begin to develop until a few years after birth. Between the ages of two and six the wisdom teeth, known as ‘buds’, begin to develop. In the early stages the bud is extremely small and thus liable to be easily damaged. It is little bigger than the average dental needle and is only covered by a thin layer of tissue rather than something as substantial as bone. The buds form in the back corners of the mouth and don’t usually emerge until late adolescence or early adulthood. Some people never develop fully grown wisdom teeth which emerge through the gums, but for those who do, the process can often lead to problems, with teeth becoming impacted or suffering from infection or disease. For this reason, dentists often opt to remove wisdom teeth before anything can go wrong. The research carried out at Tufts used the records from their own paediatric dental clinic, looking at patients who had been treated between the ages of two and six. After eliminating the records of patients with other factors which may have led to the loss of wisdom teeth, they looked at 439 x-rays of lower jaw sites where wisdom teeth could be expected to be found, belonging to 220 patients. Of these sites, there were 376 which hadn’t been injected with local anaesthetic whilst 63 had been injected. An examination of the x-rays showed that the sites which had been injected were 4.35 times more likely to feature missing wisdom teeth buds than those which hadn’t, suffering a 7.9% rate of loss as opposed to merely 1.9%. At present, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, ninety per cent of people end up suffering with at least one impacted wisdom tooth, a problem which can be very painful and cause bad breath and sometimes infection. It is hoped that the research into missing wisdom teeth can be used to develop a form of treatment which will enable dentists to remove wisdom teeth buds before they have time to erupt through the gums, thus putting an end to the problems they often cause.