Going to the dentist can be a harrowing experience for rational adults, so imagine what it could be like for a four year old. At the dentist’s office kids find themselves face to face with big serious looking chairs, strange metal equipment that looks more like it should be in daddy’s tool box, suction devices, weird spittoons, and a spotlight that seems to expose your fear. Then some strange lady in a mask and rubber gloves wants to look in your mouth and allegedly count your teeth. It could be horrible, unless you are prepared.
For the last week my wife had been prepping Devin for his first ever visit to the dentist. She told him exactly what to expect from when he would be asked to open his mouth to the free tooth brush, and everything in between. The result was a mostly relaxed kid sitting in the dentists chair(he almost lost it when the dentist first walked into the room despite the fact that she was wearing Winne the Pooh scrubs and a sincere smile). He giggled when he spit into the suction funnel and got a kick out of having his already gleaming teeth polished. It was even fun for the wife and I because we were able to see the big boy molars that are coming in in the back, and shown the proper way to floss Devin’s hard to reach teeth.
I say take advantage of the early visits to the dentist. Devin has no fear of the dentist at this point because his first visit was such a pleasant one. He’ll be going every six months from here on out. Strangely lots of parents have the idea that the first set of teeth is not very important because they’ll all come out anyway, which is a flawed theory. A life of good dental hygiene begins with the first set.? I try to think of them as the starter set, kind of like buying a 3-series BMW then moving up to the 7. Plus it’s important to make sure that everything in your child’s mouth is developing normally.
Had I, through no fault of my own, not missed over 10 years of dental visits (mostly because of no health insurance and no money) I may not be sitting at my compute