A child’s first visit to the dentist doesn’t need to be scary–and for us, our daughter really enjoyed learning the ins and outs of getting her teeth cleaned thanks to our hygienist Heather and Dr. Bauer.
While the ADA advises that children can be seen by the dentist as early as one year of age, Dr. Schumacher and Dr. Bauer recommend that a child’s first teeth cleaning takes place at three years of age. A 3-year-old is better developed and more likely to have a better experience at the dentist’s office than a younger child, and the child is likely to have most, if not all of their teeth, by age three.
When my husband and I had our recent teeth cleaning, Dr. Bauer encouraged us to bring our daughter Violet to get acclimated to the experience of going to the dentist. While she’s only 2.5 years old now, we wanted to prepare her for her first cleaning in six months when she’s three. Dr. Bauer suggests bringing little ones in prior to their first professional cleaning to get comfortable with the experience of going to the dentist without the pressure of undergoing any actual treatment.
Heather explained every step of my teeth cleaning while Violet happily watched, and she answered Violet’s questions throughout the visit. (And she had a lot of questions!)
After my cleaning was over, Heather invited Violet to sit in the chair, lean back, and get a look at the room from the patient’s chair. Violet got accustomed to the light and was given her own toothbrush. Heather asked Violet to open her mouth so she could count all of her teeth, and she happily obliged. She even was given a special pair of sunglasses in case the light was too bright.
After her successful “first visit to the dentist” the front office staff invited Violet to choose a toy from the toy chest, which she LOVED.
We asked Dr. Bauer if children should be doing anything special before their first visit to the dentist, and here were his suggestions:
- Make sure your child is brushing his or her teeth before bed every night and getting all the inside, outside and biting surfaces with a fluoridated children’s strength toothpaste.
- Never put your child to bed with any kind of food or drink after brushing.
- If you ever notice any dark spots on your child’s teeth that don’t come off with brushing, call the office to bring the child in for a quick checkup.
- Be sure to schedule your child’s first cleaning for when he or she will be three years old.
Violet left the dentist thrilled and excited to go back again in six months. Thank you to Dr. Bauer, Heather and the rest of the Schumacher & Bauer staff for making Violet’s first trip to the dentist a success!