Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Daughter's First Visit to the Dentist

When my daughter was nearing six months old, I asked the dental assistant at my dentist's office when I should bring my daughter in for her first checkup. "Not until she can spit," he said. Really? Everything I had read, the parenting books, the magazine articles, the web, all advised six months. But I listened to the dental assistant, and waited.

And waited.
My daughter will turn 4 in a month and a half, and she can finally spit. So, when I scheduled my checkup, I scheduled her first checkup too.

My dentist is not a pediatric dentist. In fact, I've been going to this dentist for more than five years, and have never seen a child or teen in the office. But my dentist, her dental assistant, and her receptionist were all great with my almost-four-year-old.

I didn't want my daughter to be scared of going to the dentist. I wanted to make it a field trip. I told her she was going to get to be a Junior Dentist, and that she was going to get to help examine my teeth. A couple of days later, a box from Amazon arrived. She asked what was inside, and I told her to guess. I told her it was something she needed to be a Junior Dentist. "A white coat?!" She guessed right. I know my child. There was no way she was going to buy that she was a Junior Dentist if she didn't have a lab coat.

I made our appointments for 9:00 a.m. - early - when my daughter would be in a pleasant mood.

The dental assistant let her follow him in and out of the room as he took my x-rays. In. Out. In. Out. She thought that was great fun; you should have heard her giggle. During my checkup, my daughter got to sit up on a chair next to me. The dental assistant and the dentist answered all of her questions - about the tools, about the foot pedal for the chair, about the cleaning process. She got to vacuum my mouth, which also made her giggle.

Then, it was her turn. My dentist explained everything she did before she did it. She sprayed air on my daughter's hand, before spraying the air in her mouth, and she touched my daughter's fingernail with the dental pick, before putting the pick in her mouth. Then, the dentist asked if my daughter had a spin-brush at home, and explained that the dental assistant was going to use a spin-brush to brush her teeth. Finally, the dental assistant gave my daughter the choice of bubblegum or cherry flavored fluoride gel (my daughter chose bubblegum), and had her wear a tray with a tiny bit of the gel in it. He explained that if she needed to spit, she could just put her hand up, and he would put the tiny vacuum in her mouth. She didn't love the fluoride gel treatment, but she didn't complain, and she followed the dental assistant's instructions.

The best part? No cavities! Now, that's something to smile about. :)


  1. Not until they can spit? Wow. I have never heard that one before. Is that just a policy that this particular office has or is this something that all dentists are doing nowadays? Despite not working with kids, I'm glad that your daughter had such a good experience with your dentist. Going to a dentist can be a daunting thing, so she should be very proud of herself.

    Freddie Gray @ Ballantyne Dentistry

    1. I think it might be this particular dentist. I'm very happy with her experience. Thank you for the kind words. :)

  2. Awesome news to hear that she had no cavities. You made it sound like a real fun time, I love the idea about the lab coat. She must have been so excited. Kids have the most adorable sense of imagination and wonder about even the small things around them, so cute.

    Joanna @ Westheimer Dentist

    1. Thank you, Joanna. I'm glad they make costume lab coats! :)

  3. I think you did the right thing. Getting your daughter used to the dentist at 4 years old will prepare her for optimal dental health as she gets older. The more accustomed that she is with the dentist, the more likely she will continue to go as she gets older. Not being afraid of the dentist will go a long way!