Time for the Dentist!
Your Child’s First Dentist Visit
By Anna Stewart
First visits to the dentist can set up life-long fears and anxieties — or they can be a normal part of life. When I was a kid, we didn’t start going to the dentist until we had our adult teeth. Nowadays, dentist recommend having the first visit around age three for kids whose teeth seem healthy.
Colorado dentist Dr. Lori Kemmett told me she looks for healthy gums and teeth as well as their spacing and bite in her young patients. Space between each tooth means there is room for the larger adult teeth to come down. The molars should be lined up.
Try these tips to make your child’s first visit to the dentist a success:
• Stay with your child in the examining room. Ask for a stool so you can hold your child’s hand on one side while the hygienist or dentist works from the other side.
• Ask the hygienist/dentist to explain everything she is doing. The hygienist should show the child her tools and explain what they do. Some hygienists allow patients to hold the suctioning device or squirt the water in their mouth. It gives the child some control.
• Young kids like counting. One hygienist counts the parent’s fingers, then the child’s, then asks if she can count the child’s teeth.
• Most family-focused dentists offer a packet of dental-related goodies for their young patients that might contain a new toothbrush, stickers or floss.
• Plan to do both the exam and cleaning on the first visit so that the expectations for future visits are in place.
© Anna Stewart
Anna Stewart, B.A., C.M.T., C.H.T., mothers three young children, one with special needs. In her classes, workshops and services, she weaves her expertise as a professional writer, creative artist and student of rhythm dance. Anna offers a number of classes in the Boulder, Colorado, area. She can be reached at (303) 499-7681 or via e-mail at Anna (at) MotherHands.com http://www.motherhands.com.