Posts Tagged ‘toothbrush’

No, I did not say that!

Mom: Did you brush your teeth?

Child: Yes.

Mom: So… if I feel your toothbrush, will it be wet?

Um, well, um, I love you! (as she runs to the bathroom)”

– Olivia, age 5

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You can never start too early for good dental hygiene! Paulo is wearing "Peek-a-Boo Pup" from Le Top's 2010 Fall Collection.

Paulo had his first dentist appointment. I didn’t know what to expect because he’s so young (18 months old). But since his teeth came in early at 5 months and he already has most of his teeth, the dentist suggested for him to be seen early. So as a typical Type A mother, I worried. What will they do? Will they clean his teeth? Will they take x-rays? Will they need to strap him down to see his teeth? Will they find a cavity? Will Paulo cooperate? Will he cry? Will he bite? I was silently panicking in the waiting room. Meanwhile, Paulo made himself comfortable watching the movie “Finding Nemo” and practicing his toothbrushing techniques with the giant toothbrush.

After a few minutes, it was our turn. There were two chairs set up facing each other. I sat in one of them, while the dentist sat opposite from me. She was very calm and instructed me to hold Paulo facing me then to lay him back toward her so his head was resting on the pillow on her lap. She asked me to cross his arms over his chest then hold them down and keep him entertained by talking normally to him as he looked at the many colorful fish swimming in the big aquarium right next to him. (Strategic placement!) Very gently, she opened his mouth, counted his teeth, and had a quick look-see. Then she took her gloves off and gave the dental assistant her assessment of his teeth.

“No cavities, no plaque. His teeth are almost all in and they look great! You’re doing a super job of brushing his teeth!”

(If she only knew what I go through to get his toothbrush anywhere near his teeth!)

Our next dentist appointment is in 6 months. At that visit, they are going to clean his teeth. Not TRY to clean them, but actually CLEAN them. All I can say is… Good luck to the dental hygienist who’s going to be performing that task!

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Well, maybe not all the time but I must admit I was a bit envious of Lilah’s first pediatric dentist visit. When I was a kid I was lucky to get a Highlights or Ranger Rick magazine in the waiting room. When we walked into her new dentist office there were trains and toys galore along with all the kid’s magazines. I checked Lilah in for her appointment with the super chipper staff, and we were shortly ushered to their quiet consultation room. They walked me through the dental appointment process and procedures and were patient when Lilah was too shy to answer any questions.

All new patients get a keepsake of their visit.

I was amazed when they brought us in to the patient room. It was heaven. They had the patients’ tables with TV screens above (and headsets) for the kids to watch cartoons on, there were video games in the corner (real arcade types) for the kids who were waiting for their siblings or had just finished up their own appointment, and at least 4-5 staff members were talking to the kids, cleaning teeth and taking photos of each patient with the dentist. After giving Lilah a sticker of her choice (Dora and Boots), the dentist and his assistant both walked Lilah and I through the steps of how to brush properly, which teeth needed to be flossed (only the ones that were close together where plaque can collect), and choosing proper nutrition and drink options for the best possible dental health. I was incredibly proud of my girl when she fully cooperated and even smiled for her photo. Just like when I was a kid, Lilah was given the opportunity to take a small toy from a basket as a prize (though she declined).

After all was said and done, she convinced me to stay for an additional 15 minutes to play with the trains. She did not want to leave and exclaimed that she had “so much fun.” I’m thrilled that her first experience at the dentist was a positive one. Shortly after arriving home, Lilah pulled out her goody bag and showed me her stash of 4 toothbrushes, a flossing tool, a SpongeBob sticker and some other random items. That evening she couldn’t wait to show me how well she could brush her teeth. Yay!!!

Less than a week after her visit Lilah received a colorful handwritten postcard (with stars and hearts) thanking her for being an amazing patient. I couldn’t be happier. I would suggest that anyone considering whether to take their kids to their dentist or a pediatric dentist should go with the latter. I’m sure this experience will set her up for a more positive outlook towards her dental health.

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Lilah's assortment of toothbrushes

While cleaning our bathroom counter the other day, I was overwhelmed with the number of toothbrushes my daughter has collected. Okay, so maybe I don’t have to buy so many for her, but I’ll do whatever it takes to get her to brush her teeth! When I was pregnant, my husband and I would discuss parenting techniques. We agreed that we would not negotiate or bribe her to get her to do what was normally expected of a child, but reality has set in, and I’m finding it almost impossible not to. I now subscribe to Mary Poppins’ philosophy, if buying a few extra toothbrushes and some fun toothpaste can “move the job along” than so be it. I recently learned that it’s recommended that children go for a dental check up before their first birthday. (No way! I ‘m way behind on this!)  Here are some other tidbits I learned.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. They receive two to three additional years of training beyond dental school, and are trained in child psychology, behavior control, growth and development and the latest techniques in introducing and providing dental care to children. Pediatric dentists limit their practice to primary and specialty oral care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs. 

Recommended Care by Age:
*This is a simplified version and IS NOT a complete list. 

6-12 months 

  • Complete exam
  • Provide oral hygiene counseling for parents
  • Clean stains or deposits
  • Assess the child’s systemic/topical fluoride status and provide counseling regarding fluoride
  • Assess feeding practices and provide dietary counseling in regards to oral health
  • Provide counseling for nonnutritive oral habits (pacifiers, thumb sucking)
  • Complete Caries risk assessment
  • Determine child’s interval for periodic evaluation

12-24 months 

  • Repeat 6-12 month procedures every 6 months or as indicated by child’s risk status
  • Provide topical fluoride treatments every 6 months or as indicated by patient’s needs

2-6 years 

  • Repeat 12-24 month procedure every 6 months or as needed based on child’s risk status
  • Scale and clean teeth every 6 months or based on child’s risk
  • Provide pit and fissure sealants for caries-susceptible primary molars and permanent molars, premolars, and anterior teeth
  • Assess and provide treatment for oral health as needed

I did it! I just scheduled her appointment. If it’s time for your child to see a pediatric dentist and you need help finding one in your area, here is the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s national dentist locator


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