I put off taking my son to his first dental visit for a few years because he has delays in communication and I didn’t know whether he would understand what was going on. I have a tendency to over-worry for him. I’m not sure if delaying him from his first appointment mattered. Although he was at a place he could understand what was going on and be prepared, there were things I could have known a few years ago that would have been important. So if you are wondering at what age you should take your child to see the Dentist, find a compromise between your heart and what is ultimately healthy for your child. They are sometimes more resilient in stressful situations than we give them credit for.
We noticed my tot had a bad tooth last year and had planned to get him to the Dentist. We were waiting on insurance and some things occurred that delayed that, so we decided we would just pay out of pocket. I searched around for a long time for “the best” Dentist and came upon The Children’s Dental Zone, which is also rated in STL Parents as one of the #1 Dental Providers. I have to say I was pretty impressed with their office! There were iPad’s embedded into the walls, TV screens in the dental rooms (which were open so kids could see other kids in passing) and even a Keurig! Yes, a Keurig with coffee and tea for Mom & Dad. Who wouldn’t want to go to this dental office?!
I helped Judah play touchscreen bowling until he was called in and of course he was the Winner!
Judah was pretty excited about going to the Dentist at this point. He had so much fun just playing around in the waiting room! When he was called back the assistant let him pick out his own toothbrush and took us back to where he would sit. He jumped right up into the chair and started watching the in-seat movie.
He had a bit of a tough time with the cleaning. My husband and I had to hold his hands down and although that Mom instinct kicked in and wanting me to just steal him off and away to safety, I knew if my husband was okay then it was okay (he’s more over protective than I am). After she was finished, he bounced right back and was clapping and we all cheered for him. He was so excited that he did it!
We had to talk to the Dentist, ironically pinned as “Candy”, and she let us in on the bad news. Tot had multiple cavities and one tooth that would need extracted. Despite the fact that he had no sugar (candies, etc) until he turned 1 and got his birthday cake, never had a bottle in bed, that he only ever had a little juice in water and a few juice packs in four years and brushed his teeth every night before bed… he was going to have to have work done. It really made my husband and I feel like we failed him. Dr. Candy asked me about him using Fluoride toothpaste and I had admitted that I did not use it because my son hasn’t learned to spit yet and I didn’t want him to swallow it because it is considered poison. She said that he would have to swallow a 1/2 tube of toothpaste before it could be harmful and that I should be using it. In her words, Fluoride prevents cavities. So I then of course assumed that it is my fault because I kept him away from regular toothpaste.
Talk about Mommy guilt.
They feel it would be better if he was sedated so as to complete everything at one time. The local hospital staff comes over, the office closes for a few hours, and they get everything finished. My husband and I are at odds with this idea. We aren’t comfortable with him being sedated and yet I know that he wouldn’t be capable of sitting through major procedures. We’re currently looking for a compromise between the two and what would be most immediate for for health reasons.
So although the appointment went really well, I’m left with so many mental cavities. It’s painful to think that he’d have to go through so much. For a little guy who gets anxious around air conditioners and cannot stand the sound of buzzers, it was a huge feat to even allow a buzzing toothbrush near his mouth. He was very brave today and we are so dearly proud of him. Now I’m just trying to find the bravery inside of myself to help make the difficult decisions moving forward.
Has your child ever had work done at a young age?