pearly whites | our first dentist visit

your child’s first trip to the dentist should be between 1-2 years of age.
..actually- by the time they get their first tooth. make the appointment.  
NO LATER than their first birthday..
3 years old.  do not take them to the dentist until they are three years old.
yea.. this won’t be that kind of post.  really I have no idea when I should have made the appointment.  their pediatrician started asking about their visits to the dentist at their one year check up.. and again at two years and again at three years.
listen.  life is busy! but we finally made it to the dentist!
let me tell you something abut my girls.  they couldnt be more different.  its funny because I often get  from strangers “are they twins?? but one is taller.”  “oh, one of them is more shy..are they twins?”
why yes.  and you know what else?  they are two different kiddos that happened to share a womb:)
that being said- Parker is a little more outgoing/outspoken and more inclined to make the first move to try something new.  Jolie is more reserved.  so often she sits back and observes things going on around her before she makes the decision to participate/cooperate.  
Parker is impulsive and processes her reaction to a situation during or after the fact while Jo thinks it all through beforehand. 
I’m explaining all this because Jolie happened to be first in the appointment slot and it was HUGE for her to hop right up on the chair to get her teeth the once over.  I knew my sweet Jo Grace was SO nervous and a bit timid, but she did such a great job!    
 the entire time Jolie was getting her teeth cleaned Parker was bouncing off the walls and ready to get up in the chair.  I finally made her sit down and watch what was happening.. she kept saying- 
“good job, jowee!”  
Jolie on the other hand was stone still.  but with a little coaching from her sister and me, she started to feel a little more comfortable with the entire situation.

“MY TURN!”  
Parker was stoked.  I mean- way way wayyyy excited.  after watching Jolie going through all this, she knew the drill like she had done it one hundred times before.
 hands on your tummy, Parker!
open wide!
put your tongue back in your mouth..
Parker.  stop with the tongue.
once again- impulsing in the moment of excitement.  that Parker Jane is the spunky light of this world.
after getting their teeth cleaned and polished, the dentist came in to give them the once over.  everything looked great!  she was so impressed with how well they cooperated and sat still with no tears, no fits, and no complaints!
SO- while I don’t have all the answers for how everyone should handle their child’s first visit to the dentist, but I do know what worked well for us leading up to and during the visit.
A few tips for success..
choosing a dentist.  I REALLY love our dentist. this has been a long time coming for me to say this- I’ve had some serious dental work done over the last couple years and have found it hard to not be filled with anxiety about even going in for a cleaning.  she has always been so personable and fun- even before the twins ever met her.  always takes time to remember my girls’ names, my profession, and asks how things are going in life.  whats even better is that she isn’t over-booked, so she’s available and willing to sit down and talk to me about all of our different options, and what’s best for me and now my kids. one thing I will mention is that she is not a specialized pediatric dentist. her office love kiddos and do an awesome job from start to finish. there is even a kids play area while we wait, so while she isn’t pediatric specific – she’s got a great set up!
talk about it.  we talked about the dentist for about a week leading up to the appointment.  my girls love peppa pig and their happened to be a peppa pig goes to the dentist episode and we watched that a couple times and talked about it during and after.  I let the girls take turns being the dentist and being the patient on each other and then on mama.  they got a kick out of it!  whatever it takes to make them comfortable.
giving them praise.  Parker took the cake when it came to praising Jolie for her ‘great job!’ at the dentist.  I constantly cheered them on, coached them through it and gave them the biggest hug and ‘great job’ whisper in their ear to show them how proud I was of them.  
good hygiene at home. practicing good hygiene at home makes going to the dentist so much easier.  I talked it up that the doctor was going to brush their teeth – this was easy for them to understand because its something we do twice everyday!  healthy teeth and gums makes for an easy and quick appointment.
our first dental visit was a success! Parker was so disappointed she didnt get a shot (she asks for a shot every time we go to the doctor) and Jolie carried around her brand new purple toothbrush and matching spool of floss all day long. 

January 20, 2016

  1. I'm so glad it was a positive experience for them! I'm a dental hygienist and love to see children starting off on the right foot. You did everything perfectly to set a great example, thanks for sharing!

  2. Ashley says:

    I called our dentist to make an appt. for my one year old. They told me that unless we have a concern, three is the golden age to bring them. So, great job, mama!!

  3. Freddie Gray says:

    I recently had an experience at the dentist that I wanted to share. I saw that this child in the waiting room was quite anxious about seeing the dentist. When his turn came, the dentist came out, gave the child a mask and some tools, and said would you like to see what it's like to be a dentist. Kids loved it.

    Freddie Gray @ Ballantyne Dentistry