Has your toddler seen a dentist yet? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DS is 16 months old, and at his 12 mo WBV my pediatrician told me to take him to the dentist for a check up. I just can't honestly see my child sitting there while someone fools around in his mouth...heck he barely lets me do that!

My husband is going to make him an appointment this week. I'm just wondering if anyone can tell me what to expect. What will they actually do? Should I bring something to keep him distracted?
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#2 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 09:24 AM
 
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I feel very guilty that my kids haven't seen a dentist at all yet. and my oldest is 5! DH is supposed to be taking him next month. I'm going to wait with my younger one.

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#3 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 09:35 AM
 
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My kids start going at three. My insurance won't pay for it before then unless there's a referral from a physician for a specific issue. I also can't imagine how they get a one-year-old child to cooperate with a dental exam...

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#4 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 09:37 AM
 
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#5 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 09:47 AM
 
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Yep. I took DS at a year old, and he's had regular check-ups/cleanings since then.

At that age, both dentists we went to had him sit on my lap & lean back. A good pediatric dentist will be quick about it, and the visit will probably be more just to get used to it then anything else.. Though my son did have some issues that we needed to deal with on his teeth. But he's used to going now.

Be sure to ask around - in my area, I was shocked that the majority of the ped. dentists do NOT allow parents back in the room, even with little ones. Yikes. The dentist we found is great though, but definitely ask around!

Amanda , mama to my two boys: N (10/06) and : A (7/09)
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#6 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 09:49 AM
 
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No, I asked my dentist about that and they said they usually start seeing kids ~3 or 4. But they also said to bring him in at my next appointment (in October), when he'll be 2.5ish to watch and see how it goes so its not a *Totally* new experience for him when he goes in the spring.
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#7 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 10:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandaleigh37 View Post
Be sure to ask around - in my area, I was shocked that the majority of the ped. dentists do NOT allow parents back in the room, even with little ones. Yikes. The dentist we found is great though, but definitely ask around!
That is just freaky - weird. WTH? Is it a power trip, or what is the point?

OP, my DS was at a dental school, and he went about 5 times between ages 1 and 3 - like way too much. But most of the visits were about getting him comfy, letting him touch the equipment.... Now that I switched to a regular dentist (school dentist here), he has only been once in 1.5 years, and DD has only gone once in her life (she is 2.5). I think it is odd - seems to be all or nothing, depending on who is providing the care. (Costs us nothing in either case - socialized medicine, so no financial issues)
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#8 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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DS old pediatrician said at 11 months that I should schedule a dentist appointment for him... I thought that was a little early considering at the time he only had 4 teeth. I switched pediatricians and when I mentioned this to his new ped's jaw nearly hit the floor when I told her this. She said I wont have to take DS till he is 3 and even that is early she said realistically 4. She said the reason for this is they wont be able to do anything until all the teeth are in.


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#9 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 10:45 AM
 
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My dentist begins seeing them at 3.

And there is no way I will not be in the room with her. They cannot stop me.

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#10 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 10:57 AM
 
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Look for a pediatric dentist. Most regular dentists won't see a child before age 3-4 and don't have child-friendly offices or practices. But a pediatric dentist specializes in treating children and should have a much better office set-up, encourage parents in the exam room, etc.

I noticed some dental issues with dd a couple months before she turned 2 and really had to search to find someone who would see her. It turned out to be a good thing I was so insistent, because when we got x-rays, despite having an excellent diet, dental habits, etc., from the very beginning, she had 8-12 cavities. She has a genetic enamel defect. (Thanks, Dad! Thanks, MIL!) We were referred to a pediatric specialist. Catching them early made that initial treatment much easier.

We started ds with a pediatric dentist as a toddler. His first few appointments involved him sitting on my lap, the dentist explaining what the different tools are for (and giving them silly names), and getting ds used to having a mirror in his mouth for a few seconds. They just peeked in, got a visual, and encouraged good dental habits. After, he got stickers and a new toothbrush. We slowly worked up to a regular checkup at 2.5 years old. The goal was to get him used to going to the dentist, comfortable with it, and make it as non-traumatic as possible so that he'd be willing to come back twice a year without feeling nervous.

Here are the things I look for in a good pediatric dentist:
*encourages parents to be in the exam room if they want to be
*is board certified or working toward it (it takes years to get board certified, so being "in process" is not unusual and is still a good thing)
*does not use restraints
*offers mercury-free fillings (composite fillings)
*has a child-friendly waiting room

Ours is fine with siblings coming to appointments and being in the exam room. Digital x-rays would be nice, but they're expensive for an office to adopt, so I keep an eye out for that but I don't base my final decision on it. Our new dentist also has hospital privileges, which has turned out to be necessary for dd, so I will look for that in the future, too. But that's probably not necessary if you don't have a child in the high-risk category.
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#11 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 11:24 AM
 
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My dentist is another who wont' see them until they are four. At two my older daughter started going to appointments with me and they'd let her sit in the chair and poke around in her mouth. That worked for getting her used to it. I haven't brought my youngest in yet though even for that because I know there is no way she'd cooperate.

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#12 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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I think a pediatric dentist is a good idea for some, but I won't see one for the same reason I don't see a pediatrician. I hate having 10 different doctors for my family. I have a family doctor that sees all of us from birth on, and a dentist that sees all of us. They're both close, know our entire family history, and we like them. I'm lazy and it's convenient. And I really don't think they need a dentist prior to 3 anyways, unless there's a real problem.

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#13 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 11:27 AM
 
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a little OT (not terribly) but the ped dentist I went to as a kid asked parents to stay in the waiting room. My parents said that he explained that the kids typically behaved better if their parents weren't there. However, all of his chairs were in a central area and there were usually 5 or so kids back there at a time with 3 or 4 hygienists and the dentist. So it wasn't like there was enough privacy for anyone to do anything to the kids. And he did have parents come back if he was going to be doing work that required the silly gas or novacaine (or whatever it is they use). It didn't ever really seem to be an issue. Although I'm sure that if a child was having major separation issues, he would let the parent come back... but we never had a problem going back without our mom or dad. We really loved going to his office, he had all sorts of cool toys that we didn't have at home... he had several nintendo stations (kid friendly games only... nothing violent...things like mario bros.) that we really loved.

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#14 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 11:27 AM
 
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We haven't taken DD in yet, but I plan to talk to my dentist about it on my next visit in August. DD's ped. mentioned that we should take her in for her first visit this year.

Last time I talked to my dental hygienist about it, she said that the first visit is mostly to get them comfortable and just peek in the mouth. Cleaning teeth is virtually impossible at age 2... and sometimes up through age 4, depending on the child.

We'll definitely look for a pediatric dentist for her, though. I've been taking notes on some of the tips from PPs - I had no idea, for instance, that some places use restraints. Wouldn't that just scare a child even more?! How awful!!!

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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#15 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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Alexander saw a pediatric dentist a couple times because he chipped his two front teeth. They don't start cleanings there until age 4 though. He has his first appointment next Tuesday.

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#16 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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We just started taking dd at 3.5. She's had some dental issues since age 2, but I just kept a watch on it. We're going to have her cavities filled in a couple of weeks under GA. We're using a pediatric dentist. I'm not thrilled with him but he's the only Ped. Dentist in our area and the our dentist is not child-friendly. I didn't want to take dd to the dentist before now (in spite of the cavities I knew she had) because she is such a sensitive soul that I was afraid she'd be traumatized. Now, at 3.5, I can explain to her what's going on. I wouldn't have done things differently in retrospect.

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#17 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 02:17 PM
 
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hi

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#18 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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I plan to start at age 3.
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#19 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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If any medical professional tried to tell me I couldn't be with my kids every single second (barring of course serious emergency situations or major surgery) I'd have my kid out of there so fast you wouldn't even see me go.

JMHO

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#20 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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Our dentist won't see a child until age 3.

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#21 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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DS went right before his third birthday and at least once a week he asks to go to visit dentist.

The office is filled with video games, arcade games, aquariums, toys & books. The dentists hands out goodie bags at the end of the appointment and the children watch movies while having their exam.

Parents are allowed in the exam area.

+ + =
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#22 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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our pediatrician said the same thing,. we happened to be going in for our own teeth to be cleaned the following week and my son went with us and the dentist said unless there is a problem that usually they don't see kids until 3 or 4 but that having our son there when we go is good and he got my son to smile for him and took a quick look at his teeth.

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#23 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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We took DS at 22 months, but had been planning to take him since 16 months or so just didn't get around to making him an appointment till then. Our pediatric dentist just looks in their mouth and gets them use to the office the first visit, they also sit in a parent's lap. DS will go in for his first cleaning in August when he is 28 months old. They don't do regular cleanings till 2 years, but they do suggest them starting then, just so they can make sure everything is okay and catch problems earlier rather then later.

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#24 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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We took DS at about 2.3 years and I was SHOCKED at how well it went.

My dentist recommended a pediatric dentist and she and her assistants bewtiched my child somehow, because even though he won't let me even cut his nails at home, he let them:

1. Stain his teeth
2. Count them
3. Clean them
4. FLOSS!!!!

We do brush 2x/ day at home and tried to prep him by reading books, etc., so he at least had some idea what to expect.

Also, we don't do a lot of videos and they had Pinnochio on, so he was pretty riveted. But he also took a lot of interest in the dental tools and they let him "help" as much as possible, which was great. He's super independent and loves to "do it myself;" the fact that they were like, "Sure!" helped a ton.

My plan walking in was to just get the teeth "counted" and hopefully be made aware of any real issues. If he freaked out, I would have left and tried again at age 3.

Oh-- he was in my lap for most of this. DH was there, too.
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#25 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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My dentist doesn't see them until 3. DS1, however, got a couple cavities right before turning 3. We tried to have them done at my dentist but it was a no-go. We then went to a pediatric dentist who wanted to see DS2 for a 12mo-ish visit. It was super quick. They said it was more about parental education than anything else. Basically just a quick peek/brush-I think he only had 4 teeth then! Also, our ped. dentist allows parents back but our regular dentist was more tentative about it and we had to be pushy about being back for the filling attempt. I guess it all depends on the doc.

Lisa, mama to A (3/05) and R (11/07) and L (8/10)
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#26 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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DS is 2 but I haven't even thought about the dentist yet since everywhere I've heard it seems that 3 is the norm. We brush his teeth two times a day and sometimes he'll let DH get in there with some floss. I know right now that we won't go anywhere that won't let me be in the room with DS. I know he'll freak out if I'm not there with him.

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#27 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandaleigh37 View Post
Be sure to ask around - in my area, I was shocked that the majority of the ped. dentists do NOT allow parents back in the room, even with little ones. Yikes. The dentist we found is great though, but definitely ask around!
It's like that around here too. It seems like most of the dentists who advertise that they specialize in children don't allow parents to be present. My kids have just a regular dentist who happens to get a lot of kids in her practice. The first time I called to make an appointment her receptionist made it quite clear that they wouldn't be forcing dd to do anything (she was quite stern about it). I took that as a good sign.

Ds is a year old and just had a check-up today, but only because I had some concerns, and because his sister has such horrible teeth. It was just a quick look, only a minute or so, and he was in my lap the whole time.
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#28 of 42 Old 06-24-2009, 02:08 AM
 
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DS came with us to our last cleaning. The dentist did ask him to open wide, and saw that yes there were teeth there. (No charge for this.) He was in my arms. It sounds like they mostly see kids at 3 or 4 too. There is a pediatric dentist in town, but I don't know their routine.

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#29 of 42 Old 06-24-2009, 03:39 AM
 
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From my experience with my two kids, the earlier the better. My family dentist said to bring in my dd when she was 3 or 4. At 3 she came in with me and he looked in her mouth and said everything looked fine. Right before her appointment at age 4 I noticed a chunk of one of her molars missing one night. Long, long story short, by age 5 she had massive dental work done with pediatric dentist including an extraction and crown.

My ds showed signs of decay at 13 months. We go in every 3-4 months to have his teeth cleaned. If I hadn't known what the early signs were I'm sure he'd be missing his top 4 teeth by now. He was (and still is) amazingly relaxed and cooperative with the dentist.

I have had one small cavity in my life at age 21. My husband has healthy teeth as well. We eat well. We brushed her teeth. We were totally and absolutely shocked when my dd had her first x-ray and it showed so much decay. And then we did everything we knew to do for my ds and he showed decay at an even earlier age (though I don't think it will get as bad as my dd's was).

A friend of mine recently took her 3 yo and 7yo to the dentist (first time for the 3yo) and they both had many cavities. The mom has never had a cavity, they eat an extremely healthy diet, etc. It just can't hurt and may really help to get into the dentist early. Our dentist actually recommends you come in once they have their FIRST tooth (we didn't).

I'd second all that earthmama369 wrote about looking for a good pediatric dentist. We worked with one bad one then interviewed 3 more and are very happy with the one we choose to work with. My ds has always received his exams while laying on me. I can always sit next to my 8yo dd and hold her hand as she still has anxiety around dental work. The dentist & hygienists are amazingly patient and calm with my kids.
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#30 of 42 Old 06-24-2009, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So glad to know that 3-4 is the norm...It makes much more sense anyway!
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