a visit to the dentist

a visit to the dentist 1We took our 4-year-old to the dentist on Friday. She was scared of going the whole week prior.

When we got there, she watched me get my teeth cleaned - intently. Then, she crawled up on that big seat and sat as still as wood. She opened her mouth and listened to instructions. The hygienist was very kind and explained each tool.

At the end of the visit, my 4yo got a toothbrush, a sticker, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Afterward, she proclaimed that it was "super fun."

I am often - daily - so proud of her I could burst. She is intelligent, compassionate, candid, and creative. She is meticulous about art and eager about learning. She isn't afraid to say she is afraid. She is constantly reminding Tim & I to be better - "we don't talk about other people" and "we don't say 'stupid'."

a visit to the dentist 2Her tender heart and sweet spirit are gentle reassurances of our choice not to spank. [I grew up in a culture that said if kids weren't spanked, they were sure to be spoiled brats. I don't believe that].

I know she's not perfect, but neither am I. We're both in this together.

* This post wasn't meant to be about spanking. It's just something that came to mind.

* Now I'm going to order a box of cookies for the Affiliated Dental Center staff (because they are awesome).

Have you taken your child(ren) to the dentist? What was the experience like?

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34 comments on “a visit to the dentist”

  1. My girls love the dentist and often times (as we drive by the dentist office) they ask when they get to go again. Our dentist is thoughtful and gentle. He also uses lasers and laughing gas - so it is a pain free event when they do have a cavity or two.

  2. I went to the dentist with my 3 kids ant I took them some pics because I remember this post!
    Do you want me to send them to you?
    We are from Argentina!
    God bless you!

  3. I had to smile that you're ordering cookies for the dentist office! Cute. :) I am going to the dentist soon. I have always LOVED the dentist for some odd reason. In high school I wanted to be an orthodontist ... until I thought long and hard about always having my hands in other people's mouths. nope.
    I plan to have my dentist start checking my 9 month olds teeth when I go for my visit. Never too early to start good oral hygiene! :)

    1. Cookies for the dentist + his staff! That is a bit ironic, isn't it? They can always brush and floss afterward, right? ;)

  4. That's wonderful, our four year old daughter is going in January - I hope that she has a nice visit like your daughter did.

  5. As the daughter of a dentist, I am thrilled she had a great experience. The hygienist sounds like someone who really has a talent for showing and sharing - helping your daughter find the trip full of information and new things.

    It's an important lesson to me even now to remember that being apprehensive of something doesn't mean it can't end up being "super fun."

  6. I have been taking my boys since they sprouted their first teeth.

    From about 10 mths - 2 years, they got up in the chair, played with a tool or two, then got down. After that, they opened their mouth to let the dentist poke around a little.

    Now, they're pros. I am a big fan of taking them early, and not a big fan of children's specialty dental offices (with video games, tv's, and nicknames like "pirate teeth" for cavity fillings).

    We love our dentist, as well, and I'm so proud of big sis'!

  7. My daughter is 2 and a half now and I have been taking her to a pediatric dentist since she was one. Our pediatrician recommended starting visits then, and we have a special rate at the dentist since my husband fixes their computers. This last visit they took x-rays since she was doing so well at being still and they were a little worried about how crowded her baby teeth are. She hasn't had her teeth cleaned yet, so I'm a little worried about how that will go...
    I recommend the pop-up book, "I'm going to the Dentist" (1997). They don't print it any more but you can get a cheap used copy. It goes through most of the things that happen at the dentist.

    My niece has "soft teeth" and has had a lot of hard dentist experiences over the years. Her current dentist respects her fears and lets her know exactly what is going to happen, which helps a lot. She also gets laughing gas, which makes her feel less stressed.

    1. I originally wanted to take our girls to a pediatric dentist, but our insurance didn't cover it (and they are expensive!). I am grateful that our current dentist turned out to be kid-friendly anyway.

  8. My 8 year old handles dental appts like an old pro. My 6 year old is a different story. She finds it so terrifying that she screams and cries and kicks and it's just a bad scene. We've tried many different tactics and nothing seems to work. It's frustrating and makes me feel so bad every time I take her to the dentist because it is truly traumatizing for her. I only hope she'll outgrow it soon! Would love some suggestions!

  9. I just took my 4 year old to the dentist too. We also had a very good experience with the whole process. Her favorite part, in addition to the bag with the toothbrush, toothpaste, & floss was choosing a toy from the treasure chest of prizes! She's asking when she gets to go back again...

    1. The dentist that I went to as a kid had one of those treasure chests! I always looked forward to selecting a prize after my visit.

  10. I took my 3 year old a couple of months ago and he freaked out, but luckily I was expecting it since he does the same thing at the pediatrician's office. But, we have a wonderful pediatric dentist and they were great with him. They said they thought he was too little for xrays, something i was worried about him getting and wasn't going to allow anyway unless there was a problem. So, I'm hoping he does better next time, but overall it wasn't too bad of an experience. And we don't spank either. I can't stand even thinking about it.

  11. I need to make an appointment for my almost 4-year old. Everytime I try the dentist says to wait longer to bring him in. I think I need to find a different dentist for the kids.

  12. we recently had to take our 2 year old to the dentist because she chipped a tooth. she showed no fear and thought it was absolutely fantastic when they took an x-ray. the following week, we took the older 2 for a cleaning. our 3 year old was scared. she was too scared to say anything, but i could tell she wanted to cry. i was a little bothered by the fact that they kept telling her that she should be brave the way her younger sister had been the week before. i hate having them compared like that. they are such different children. in the end, it turned out ok. she's content knowing that she doesn't have to go back for a while.

  13. We took our kids to the dentist for the first time 6 months ago. Our dentist is so fun and very kid friendly! He started off with showing the kids the "tools" the water tool became a squirt gun and he got the kids with it:) They giggled the whole time! He even had sunglasses for the kids to wear so the bright light didn't hurt their eyes! The kids love to go to the dentist and can't wait for their visit next week!

    We don't spank our daughter and son either! I totally agree with you about "not being perfect". We strongly believe that life lessons should not be remembered by a spanking. As an adult, I make mistakes on a daily basis. I can't imagine if I got spanked or smacked everytime I yelled, said words that were unkind or disrespectful, didn't clean my room or threw a fit (which happens sometimes). I was spanked as a child and I still do that stuff:) Instead, we talk to our children about how we should treat others, act when we are in public and at home, say our magic words...etc. When our children start yelling or "throwing a fit" we send them to their rooms for time out! I know I need time outs often!

  14. Haven't taken mine b/c he doesn't have teeth yet, hehe. I saw the same dentist twice a year growing up until I moved away from home. He had a small practice and even though he normally didn't see small children, he saw me and my siblings b/c my mom was a long time patient.

    Dental hygiene was big in my family but not emphasized in my husband's and he had several cavities before he started going regularly after we were married. I really dislike the sensations of getting my teeth cleaned and always have, but because it was a habit instilled at childhood I never question going to the dentist.

    1. I don't like getting my teeth cleaned either (it's not "super fun" for me), but I agree that it is important. As such, I try to be diligent about going to the dentist every 6 months - at minimum.

  15. My daughter LOVES the dentist! Is that weird?? We make it like a big treat everytime she gets to go. The staff at our dentist office is incredible, and Sarah talks about Mrs. Stephanie (the hygenist) ALL the time. I was so worried before her first visit that she would be terrified and leave traumatized, but she totally prooved me wrong...she does that a lot!:) I wish that I could put a picture an here of her first visit, she wore these huge sunglasses, it was adorable!

  16. Don't you just love it when they hear you say something you shouldn't and they correct you? Love their little hearts. :)

    Dentist is a hot topic around here right now. Our four year old went for the first time in July because our dentist doesn't see children before four. She had FOUR cavities. :( Nothing to do with dental care -- her molars are more pitted than normal, or so said the dentist. So this Friday we head to a specialized pediatric dentist -- because of her anxiety about the dentist, she will have to be consciously sedated. I am dreading it like the plague. :(

    Sealants will also go on her molars, though, to keep this from being a pattern.

    I am so thankful our son (6) actually enjoys going to the dentist! Seems like our daughter takes after me (I don't like dentists, either.) :)

  17. All 3 of my "big kids" LOVE the dentist. Our oldest has gone with me from day one, just because I carted her everywhere. I'll never forget when she was 18 months and walked over and put her mouth on the "suction thing" hanging on the tool tray. The dental nurse and I both got a huge kick out of that! At 18 months, she kept saying "my turn." So, we gave her a turn in the chair, too. Now 7, 5, and 3, they consider a trip to the dentist a fun outing. Maybe I just have weird kids. ;)

  18. When my oldest was first introduced to the dentist we were told she would be a good candidate for sedation! Our dentist had little patience for children and knew nothing about sensory processing disorder (we did not know she had it at the time, but her reaction to teeth cleaning should have been a clue!) We switched dentists and now she is a model patient! Loving your healthcare providers is vital to a happy healthy family. She is 10 and has been through major orthodonture including a palate expander, headgear and braces. Before she would not smile. At 7 she would cry to help her fix her teeth. The braces just came off (she may need another quick round of braces as a teen) but her jaw is aligned, her teeth are straight and she feels great about herself. I shudder to think -- what if we never switched?

  19. We haven't gone to the dentist or spanked our 15-month-old. I'm hoping to avoid the spanking and dreading the dentist. I got accidentally cut in my mouth by a dentist when I was about 5 or 6,my mouth is too small and so my lips crack & bleed in the corners everytime I go, & I reacted so poorly to the laughing gas they only removed 3 of my wisdom teeth! So it's going to require some effort for me to seem happy about dentistry. Lol. I'll do my best though!

  20. We took Cory to the dentist for the first time this summer. At 3 1/3. He did perfectly. We had told him what would happen, but he didn't get to watch us before hand. He really liked playing with the suction hose! ;)
    And yes, we do spank, sorry. I don't think it's the be-all of punishment, but some things just don't always get through... I think perhaps with boys?

  21. it's awesome to hear these words come out of a child's mouth...how refreshing!

    and regarding our meet and greet...we had no idea what the demographics where of our apartment complex...all ages and backgrounds ended up showing up!

  22. She looks so tiny in that big chair! We have taken our 3 1/2 year old to the dentist a few times now. She LOVES going. I too was proud of how brave she was, although the first time they wanted to take x-rays, she wasn't having it - but really...do they need x-rays for a 2 1/2 year old? Our dentist and all of the staff are amazing! Almost every time she brushes her teeth at night, she makes a comment about making Dr. Van proud of her sparkly teeth. She even encourages her little brother to brush well so when he goes to the dentist they will be proud of him :)

    1. I don't know about 2 1/2 but I had missing permanent teeth that were detected (or rather not detected) on a dental x-ray as a child. It allowed my parents to be aware of why those teeth might not fall out and make plans as to how to deal with the missing teeth. In my case they were molars and those baby teeth were pulled and braces used to move the molars behind to close the gap once I was in my teens.

      1. I work for a dentist and I am surpised that they tried to take x-rays on such a young kid. It might be just there way of getting the child use to getting x-rays taken. Normally at that young of an age you are not going to get very good x-rays b/c their mouths are too small.

      1. I know! I think it is a bit crazy too! It is great that it worked out for Katelyn when she was child-that they were able to discover missing teeth. I hardly went to the dentist when I was a kid (not that that is a good thing), so I tend to err on the side of 'is it really necessary'? Both of my kiddos brush every morning and night and they don't eat much sugar, etc. and their teeth are fine...and they will fall out in the next few years! I am thankful that my kids enjoy going to the dentist though!

        1. You are such an awesome mom, Nini! You often stun me with your creativity, your energy, and your thoughtfulness. I look forward to meeting you this winter.

          P.S. Your kids brush in the morning too? Wow. I think we need to get on that.

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