They Are Not Just baby Teeth, part 2

Dental Health

When to Start at the Dentist, part 2 of 2

[read Part 1 here]

Beyond all the noble goals listed by the AAPD (see my last blog) as reasons to establish a dental home by a child’s first birthday or first tooth, there are really two overriding good reasons to bring your child into a dentist this early.  The first we have just touched on – we’ll call it building a better dental patient.   The biggest fears we encounter on a daily basis in a pediatric dental office is the fear of the unknown. Most kids –  and many parents – don’t know what a filling is, don’t understand what freezing is for; don’t know why we take xrays, and it is this not knowing that frightens many of us. The strange smells, the high pitched whirl of the handpiece, the feeling of water being squirted into and sucked out of your mouth are all very unnerving the first time but become very comfortable and benign once a child knows what to expect and how it feels.  And that is the goal, to slowly and steadily, one visit at a time,  to introduce all the elements of a complete dental visit to the child. To progress from a mirror and probe at age one, and add in the suction or “Mr. Thirsty”, and air water syringe or “Squirt Gun” at age two,  and then including  xrays or “skeleton pictures” of teeth  by age three.  By the time too many children visit a dentist for the first time at age four or later and have already been instilled with the idea that something weird, invasive and potentially painful, those who have been exposed to the dental routine by their first birthday already have three years of experience and six or more simple and productive visits under their belt.

The second stems from a philosophy of oral care. If you believe that you go to the dentist to make sure nothing is wrong, then maybe a first visit at three years old makes sense. But if you believe, as I do,  that going to the dentist is a step to ensure complete dental  health, to learn how to properly provide oral care for your child,  to see that everything is right, then visiting by the first birthday is the way to go. In the same way that babies are seen by their family doctor or pediatrician many times throughout the early formative years for “well Baby visits” very young children should do the same with the dentist. You don’t go to a Well Baby visit to make sure you child doesn’t have measles, you go so that you ensure they are as healthy as they can be. The absence of disease is not health.  Health is a state all of its own.  By the same token we don’t visit the dentist to avoid disease, we go to ensure health.

So if you had planned on only bringing your child to the dentist  “once they start school” or “start grade school”, or “can sit quietly”, or whenever the receptionist at your dental office tells you to, consider the opportunity you are passing up. Think about the leaning possibilities on how to provide optimal oral health for your child, the confidence and comfort you can help foster in your child, the dental patient skills you can help to build, and the lifelong positive healthy habit and attitude you can help to form.  Think about it carefully. And then think first tooth or first birthday, and start your child on the path to a lifetime of excellent oral health.

[read Part 2 here]

The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes and is not medical advice.

Do NOT use this Website for medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, call a physician or qualified healthcare provider, or CALL 911 immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read on this Website. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed and qualified health provider in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Evan Zaretsky

About Evan Zaretsky

Evan is a pediatric dentist and owner of Durham Kids Dentistry in Whitby, the only pediatric dental office in the Whitby Oshawa Bowmanville area.

Visit My Website
View All Posts

Author Box Contact Form

Form used on Contact Tab in the Author-Box.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Subscribe To My Newsletter

Don't Miss Out - You Can Unsubscribe At Any Time.

Yay! You've subscribed.