Friday, December 18, 2009

My Child's First Dentist Visit

My daugher is seven years old now and she has lost 7 baby teeth so far. She has kept each and every baby tooth in a little tooth ferry box. It was as precise as our diamond rings, to her.

One day my husband noticed that two of her permanent teeth seem to be coming out but the baby teeth have yet to give way. oh dear... the alarm in my head rang so loud -- First Dentist Visit trauma!!

Yeah, I know, it is very late to have first dentist visit.... but somehow, it was never been our priority all these years because since she was a toddler, she has no problem at all with her teeth, no decay, no gum infections nor any other dental problems. I suggested to her in many occasions to "lets go to the dentist". She would refuse and change the subject almost immediately. There was basically no "excuse" to bring her to the dentist.

But now, we need to get her to the dentist. But how to?   

I bought her some story books about visiting the dentist. I shared with her experiences of my friends' children during their first dentist visit which turned out to be quite pleasant. I showed her some photos downloaded from the Internet on bad teeth as a result of not seeing a dentist soon.
Unfortunately, none of these persuasions worked. 
Then, I thought of a plan. It surprised me that it actually worked.
First, my husband and I agreed to buy her a "brave girl present". We would buy the present in advance and made the appointment with the dentist after.


she would get to own the present immediately after seeing the dentist. In the mean time, she got to see, try, touch and admire the present occasionally. 
Somehow, this approach has urged her to quickly done over with the dentist visit because she wanted to own the present.

On the day of her first dentist visit, she brought along her "brave girl present" to show to the dentist. As soon as the dentist visit was over, the present was hers. It was that simple!

Some Points to Guaranteed Success on First Dental Visit

1. In shortlisting the dentist, it is very crucial to look for child-friendly dentist in town - the best way to find out is through our readily available stay at home moms network!  As long as the child got comfortable with the dentist during his / her first dentist visit, the subsequent visits will not post any more problems. The child will be very keen to listen to the dentist's advice what needs to be done next.

2. Prior to buying the "brave girl / boy present", get an agreement from your child that mom will make the call to the dentist after we paid at the check-out.

3. Let your child decide which calendar date to go to see the dentist. It can be the next day or even a week later. It doesn't really matter. The fundamental is you will hold on to the "brave girl / boy present" for as long as the first dentist visit is not over.

4. Try to make the dentist visit as casual as possible particularly when the appointment is approaching. Make it sounds like: "Yes, finally you can own the present after tomorrow!" instead saying "it is time to see your dentist tomorrow!"

5. As soon as your child is done with the dentist, PRAISE him / her for being brave. Ask your child the feelings.

6. Maintain follow-up visits after the first dentist visit every six months.

Having said that, for moms out there with younger child than mine, it is recommended to bring your child to his / her first dentist visit at the age of 2++.

Between pediatric dentist or general dentist, the only difference is pediatric dentist went through additional two years of training on children's behaviour. Therefore able to handle young children better. However, technically it is fine to go to either the pediatric or general dentist for as long as they are child-friendly. 

In addition, when your child is approaching seven years old (started to have loose tooth), it is advisable to visit orthodontist. Orthodontist is able to detect possible overcrowding of teeth. Therefore, recommend necessary adjustments to improve the child's teeth position. 

Overcrowding of teeth corrected with braces

However, at child as young as seven, they do not require braces. Even permanent teeth are correctable with a simple appliance that looks like this.

Wires are molded according to individual needs.

The appliance is molded from an impression taken from your child's top and bottom jaw. It is easy to wear and remove. Your child can do it on his / her own. Initial two days may be a bit uncomfortable because they are not used to it. Thereafter, they can even wear it at night and still have a sound sleep.

It is not as costly as braces. My daughter had one done recently in Vietnam. The cost was around USD220 including the monthly periodical treatments for six months (as compared to braces that can cost upto USD5,000 or beyond).

She wore the appliance everyday after school and over night. The appliance should be removed during meal time.

If you need more dental information, check this website out.


  1. A pediatric dentist learns much more then "Children's Behavior" in a pediatric dental residency. They learn about growth and development of children and many other things not taught in the standard 4 year dental school.

    You wouldn't bring your child to a regular adult doctor, you bring them to a pediatrician. It's the same for dentists!

  2. Yes, I totally agree. For very young child, pediatrician/child dentist is definitely recommended. As they grow older, I keep my options open because there are GPs out there who are equally good, sometimes better too!

    This very much depends on which option we are comfortable with and what is reasonable.

  3. she has been wearing the appliance for almost six months now. I can see that both her front teeth are coming closer to each other and there seem to have sufficient space for the other teeth to grow nicely too.

    Thanks to Dr. Minh Phuong!

  4. That's a good move. Some books and some toys will help your child to stay away from dental fears. Of course, the support of parents is very important.