23 answers

First Dentist Appt

I'm taking my 2 year old to the dentist for the first time on Wednesday. I'm a nervous wreck! She HATES the doctor and I can't imagine the dentist will be any easier. We are going to a pediatric dentist that comes highly recommended, but I'm still a wreck! I have no idea what to expect. Do they actually do a full cleaning? What happens if she starts freaking out and and screaming and crying? I'm allowed to be in the room with her, but I'm 35 weeks pregnant, so there's only so much I can do. I've heard horror stories about dentists strapping children down to a board with restraints to keep them still. I see this in my nightmares on a nightly basis. Can anyone help to set my mind at ease?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone! We went today and it wasn't nearly as terrible as I thought it would be. He didn't clean her teeth this time since they didn't need it. We chatted a little about switching to a flouride toothpaste and things like that. We go back in 6 months and he's going to try to do a cleaning then.

Featured Answers

Hi S.,
I took my daughter to the dentist for the first time back in the winter. She is a peds dentist as well. I think going to a peds dentist is the best thing because my daughter was very comfortable with her. They didn't clean her teeth that appointment. She sat her in the chair and put the bib on her and asked my daughter if she could see her teeth. I don't know how the doctor did it but my daughter actually thougth it was fun. Before going to the Doctor I told my daughter where we were going and that the doctor would look at her teeth. I told her she would have to hold her mouth open and she couldn't bite the doctor. Just let her know what is going on so that she can feel more comfortable about her appointment. Good luck.

I take my daughter to my dentist; her first visits were with me and watched me get my teeth cleaned. Since sweets and soda weren't an issue the dentist didn't have me have my daughter in for a cleaning until she was 3. I sit on a stool in the corner and "coach" (less now since she's a pro at going to the dentist), the hygnenist has her wear sunglasses to help with the bright light that they use to see. Practice going to the dentist and perhaps read some books about going to the dentist (there are also ones about visiting the doctor).

More Answers

hi S.,

I work with dentists on a daily basis. First, it would have been a great idea to bring your child to the dentist while you or your husband goes, so she can see 1st hand that it isn't a big deal. Also, pediatric dentist are very good with kids. They are more patient- that is what separates them from general dentists. For her 1st appointment, their main goal will to be to make it a positive experience, whether she gets a real cleaning or not. She may jus be getting familiar with the chair, and looking at the instruments this time around. They might just try to get her to open her moth so they can look in, and that be it.

You have no worries about strapping them down or anything horrible like that. I always recommend to patients that they call the office to see if you are allowed to go back with the child. (I wouldn't make he appointment with an office who wouldn't allow me to go back.) Many offices do not allow it because they say that they child will act up when the parent is there- but I think that is some kids. My child was the opposite- so I told the office that as long as I was there- she would do fine. Just talk to them about it, they may bend their usual rules.

Because your child hates the "doctor", make sure you do not call the dentist a "doctor"- her association may make it bad from the beginning. So she will need to be reassured that dentists are gentle, and nice, and fun. So call tehm "Dentist Smith" or whatever- but not "Doctor Smith."

I always recommend getting children books about going to the dentist. I have always gotten books on whatever subject it is that we will be experiencing- and that does the trick for my child.... it just familiarizes them with what to expect. Not knowing what to expect is the worst thing. Your dentist office will have wished you would have called to ask them details rather than to worry.

So call the office and talk to them honestly about your concerns. Just be okay with nothing really getting accomplished on your daughter's teeth, should she be uneasy this time around. The next time will be much easier- afer you praise her for being such a good girl. Also, the dentist will have a "treasure chest" for good patients- and she will love picking out a surprize! You might end up amazed that your daughter may even get a full cleaning on her very first appointment... you never know- keep your cool, so she does the same.

Good luck and call her dentist! God bless!

A.

1 mom found this helpful

First and foremost if they start to strap her down, I would immediately look at them and say "we're done". That would traumatize anyone to never want to go back. I would not allow that and surely they won't do that, I have yet to have anyone say their dentist did that. Second, if they are a ped dentist then they are used to kids freaking out. I guarentee they deal with that day in and day out. Get a chair, sit beside her and if she starts freaking out then you can talk to her while sitting beside her. Third, depending on how the child does will determine how much they do in the first visit. Some only do a "get to know" kind of thing, showing them the chair, instruments, etc. And then if the child agrees to let them do any cleaning they will.

You need to take a deep breath and relax everything will be fine and the more you "freak out" the more your child will.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
I took my daughter to the dentist for the first time back in the winter. She is a peds dentist as well. I think going to a peds dentist is the best thing because my daughter was very comfortable with her. They didn't clean her teeth that appointment. She sat her in the chair and put the bib on her and asked my daughter if she could see her teeth. I don't know how the doctor did it but my daughter actually thougth it was fun. Before going to the Doctor I told my daughter where we were going and that the doctor would look at her teeth. I told her she would have to hold her mouth open and she couldn't bite the doctor. Just let her know what is going on so that she can feel more comfortable about her appointment. Good luck.

I had to take my own son around the same age and they gently talked hum into sitting into the chair. the dentist I went to started by pretending to count his teeth. If your daughter starts to get to upset the dentist should suggest trying again next time that's what mine did. Hope that helps. J. B.

If you have chosen a pediatric dentist you're already one step in the right direction. Make sure you give your child a dose of tylenol an hour before the appointment, and keep a positive attitude. If you do not make the association between doctor and dentist it is likely she won't either. Since you are pregnant and obviously a little freaked out yourself I would recommend taking another adult that she is comfortable with along that can keep you calm and stay in the room with her while they do her X-rays. If you walk in with the attitude that you are in control of the situation and there is nothing to be scared of then she will stay calm until something gives her a reason not to. Discuss with the staff before any procedures are done that you are more concerned with the visit being a positive experience than you are with accomplishing everything the first trip. If your daughter becomes agitated or complains of pain feel free to cut the visit short and reschedule for another day. At that point you can discuss whether it would be better to consider sedating her for future dental work.

I started taking my now 3 yr old to the dentist with me a year and a half ago. The first time he just watched me get my teeth cleaned and then the dentist just looked at his teeth. The second time he let the hygienist do a quick brushing with no paste, just the spinning tool and let the dentist look at his teeth. This last time we just went my little guy says, "Mommy, I think I want to go first." :) He laid there like a big boy all by himself and let the hygienist brush and floss his teeth and then let the dentist take a look too.

Your daughter is going to feed off of your emotions whatever they are about the dentist. I have no fear of the dentist and so my son is also relaxed and comfortable with the dentist. However, my best friend is scared to death of going to the dentist and she can't get her 5 yr old or 3 yr old to even go in the door to the office. Your kids know when you're scared or anxious about something so try to take a deep breath and get excited about going to the dentist.

The other thing we did before going the first time was to borrow some books from the library about going to the dentist and read them. By the time we actually got there my son knew what to expect and was pretty cool about it.

I take my daughter to my dentist; her first visits were with me and watched me get my teeth cleaned. Since sweets and soda weren't an issue the dentist didn't have me have my daughter in for a cleaning until she was 3. I sit on a stool in the corner and "coach" (less now since she's a pro at going to the dentist), the hygnenist has her wear sunglasses to help with the bright light that they use to see. Practice going to the dentist and perhaps read some books about going to the dentist (there are also ones about visiting the doctor).

Hi S.,
If you have a good dentist, you should have no problem. I took my son to the dentist when he was almost 3 and he was terrified. He didn't let the hygientist do anything. So, when the dentist came in he didn't want him to touch him either. The dentist finally got him to open up and he ended up just counting his teeth and making sure they were healthy. He didn't have a cleaning or anything else. When we went back the next time he was not as scared and he let them do the cleaning and exam. They were really good about letting the child's fears take precedence. Yes I was allowed to be in the room, and you should too.
If they try to push the issue with your daughter tell them you just want to try again next time. Good luck.

My children's pediatric dentist has DVDs on the ceiling and they can't wait to go. They even ask to go before it's even been six months! My son has been going to the dentist since he was a year old(he was born with a jaw problem) and my daughter has been going since before the age of 2. My children get x-rays, cleanings, and have even had sealant applied. They have been to my dentist with me and I just take the attitude that it's normal and nothing to be afraid of. The pediatric dentist has two special rooms with doors when they feel a child might be a problem and I have seen a few screamers in there. You have to give permission to let them be held down which I have never had to deal with. Good luck!

L. Etta, mother of a 7 yr old girl and an 8 yr old boy.

I had the same fears!! Our pediatric dentist was wonderful. She had books, toys and even flavored gloves to entertain our daughter. The hygentist did a "pretend" cleaning to ease all of us. Everyone was very nice and understanding. The dentist had our daughter lay her head on my lap during the cleaning (basically just used the polisher). When our daughter had enough, the dentist asked if I wanted her to go on or stop. We also learned a valuable lesson about the importance of teeth brushing. We were afraid to "push" our daughter too much with the teeth brushing, but they told us it's just like putting on her shoes or combing her hair, it needs to be done and we established a routine and it works out well. Overall it was as pleasant as a dentist visit could go. I hope you have the same luck!!!! Don't woory if you get to be with your child, you will always know what is going on and if you feel uncomfortable or you think your child is speak up!!!

My daughter's first dentist appointment was shortly after she turned two and was because she chipped a tooth in the front - we wanted to make sure she was ok. We went to a pediatric dentist. Boy - what a difference. If they had offices like that when I was a kid I would have loved going to the dentist.

Our pediatric dentist's office was decorated so kid friendly. And my daughter was scared when the dentist came in but he actually had to look at her teeth...so what we did was the dentist and I sat facing each other...knee's touching and my daughter sat on my lap and we leaned her backwards so that she was on my lap and the dentist's lap and he counted her teeth and checked out the chipped one. It was very quick and he was great to work with. They even had flavors to choose for the gloves...I think we chose peanut butter cup. We didn't attempt a cleaning at this point...but when we're ready for that - they have a ton of different flavors for that. We go back at the end of July...we'll see - perhaps we'll try a cleaning this time.

Also - I had a dental appointment last week...I took my daughter with me so she could see that I was ok while the dentist was working on me...I had a minor filling replaced...so they were actually working on me and my daughter was fine. They were so friendly to her - gave her gloves to play with and a mask - she got to take them home - she absolutely loved it. I'm hopeful that we might actually be able to pull off a cleaning at the appointment at the end of July.

When you go to the dentist's office...if they are doing anything that makes you uncomfortable - leave and take your child somewhere else. There are pediatric dentists that know how to work with children :-)

Good luck! I hope my story helps :-)

even an highly recommended dentists has to have a special talent to handle kids.hopefully he has experience with kids. the first appointment will determine if she likes dentists or not for the rest of her life. you have so stay calm. your daughter will sense your emotions, and will react they way you do. keep it fun. it's a game to get your teeth cleaned. you have to make it fun. afterwards take her out for some ice cream. if your stressed, she will be stressed. if she has a bad experiece, tell her she doesn't have to see him again. and find someone who deals only with children. thats the best dentist to find.

Our dentist office "goes with the flow" on the first visit. They only do as much as the child will let them. When we first went, we only thought that we would do get to know things like look at the instruments, ride in the chair, and hopefully count teeth. The more we sat there and talked, the more comfortable my daughter became, and we were able to actually do a whole cleaning. I was shocked! Allow your daughter to take a comfort object with her as well. The more calm you are, the more calm she will be. If she really starts to freak out, just end things. Each time you go back, she'll get further. Good luck!

I am the mother of 4 boys (9-8-3-2) and my #2 son had an awful experience at the dentist when he was about 5 (he is now 8). I switched over to a pediatric dentist and things slowly improved. So feel good that you made a good choice by going to a pediatric dentist at the start.

At their first visit (I have taken my 3 year old now for a year) they tend to look around and make sure there aren't any issues and to count their teeth. Now that he is 3 they tried to do a cleaning and he fought the hygenist and she stopped. They aren't into scaring the children, but to get them used to being in the chair. Everytime you take your child it should get a little easier. Before you know it she won't want you there.

As far as your nightmare - that should never happen. At least not without your permission. When my son had his bad experience with a non-pediatric dentist and I took him to a pediatric dentist we used the papoose board as the very last resort. He wouldn't use the nitris-oxide so we had to give him phenegren (a light seditive). He still fought and fought and I gave them permission for the papoose board. He ended up feeling more secure and slept throught the majority of the proceedure. We only did it once and slowly he handled it better but I consider his case to be extreme. (He had 5 fillings to do and wasn't going to 'let' them do it no matter what).

I hope that I have helped your fear that you are going through. Just remember that if they do something that you do not like, you don't have to go back and you will be there when they look at her.

Also, remember that she can feel your tension so try and make it a fun trip and then when she is done go get an ice cream or something.

Good luck!

L.

Pediatric Dentists are specialists in the field of denistry and in dealing with young children.Those horror stories are from years past. A pediatric will talk to the child before doing anything. I suggest that you read a book about going to the dentist, practice opening her mouth for the dentist to see her beautiful teeth and play dentist with her. Take turns being the dentist, looking in her mouth and she in yours, counting her teeth, talk about getting a new tooth brush and making this dental exam an important part of her life. Remember that knowledge is power even for two year olds.

The pediatric dentist that we went to was great. They showed her everything before they actually did anything to her mouth or moved her on the chair. I sat on a chair near the TV and was there, but I didn't really do anything. More for security of not knowing the dentist and hygenist and to answer questions. They should do as much as she allows. We made it something fun for her and she did learn some new stuff about her teeth. I'm sure the dentist has had screamers before, and being 2 it is more to get her used to it than anything else.
And you are suppose to sit and try to relax and be the comforter. Let the dentist do the mean stuff, if they have to.

get the usborne book: going to the dentist. it's great!!!! goes through EVERYTHING they do, and really helps the kids visualize whats going to happen.

with our first appts, they just brushed their teeth, and we brought our own toothbrush and they used that. actually, with my daughter they let me brush her teeth and they watched me, since she is nervous of strangers. if your kid starts freaking out, tell them you are done and leave. remember you can control how much they do--you are the customer here. my goal was to make it a positive experience and i didn't force anything-- we just wanted to get her familiar with the environment and procedures.

we schedule all our appts together so they can watch mommy and big brother first before having to sit on the chair. we go to a family dentist, which i really like better. i've heard pediatric dentists wear earplugs and just get used to screaming. the one ped dentist we met at a health fair was pretty rough. our family dentist is so patient and cute with our kids... and i think they enjoy them because they don't get kids all the time.

All I can offer is the following. No, my dentist did not do the same type of cleaning on my 2 yr old he does on me. Dr. offices and Dentist offices do not have the same aroma and believe me, that makes a difference. Unfortunately they do dress similarly.
I think you were wise to pick out a pediatric dentist. They are trained to handle children and know what to expect and what to do.
I guess my next question is have you taken her to the dentist with you when you go? Has she seen them working on your mouth and teeth? If so then she isn't as likely to be worried about the whole thing.
Just pray and have some faith that everything will be fine. You will transfer your nervousness to her if you aren't calm.

You should call the dentist and ask them what you should expect. Maybe that will set your mind at ease. Also practice/pretend you are going to the dentist with her. Put her in a chair and lean her back so you can count her teeth just like the dentist and his helpers do. It really helps. Good luck and dont't worry most kids do cry their first visit and the staff is prepared for that. If you stay calm she may surprise you!

I don't think you have to worry about the dentist since you are using a pediatric dentist. They know how to deal with children that are nervous or afraid and are very kind to the patient. That was a smart move rather than taking her to just any dentist. But since you are so nervous about it, maybe it would be a good idea if you weren't in the room with her...so she won't pick up on your nervousness.

Is there a specific reason why you're wanting to take her? Because 2 years old seems extremely young. I've had 3 dentists (before I started taking the kids to their dentist, we had moved around 3 times in about 2 years) tell me that 3 or 4 is a good age to start. I started taking both of my children when they were about 3 1/2 and didn't have any problems with either of them. 2 though, I have a feeling they would've freaked out a little

Our pediatric dentist has been incredibly gentle with our daughters! He (or his assistant) brush their teeth with a regular toothbrush which the kids get to pick out, and then they just look around their mouths for anything out of the ordinary ... all while chatting with them and making it "fun". My daughters are 5 and 3 and they have not had any x-rays yet and I am perfectly okay with that since I don't have any concerns about their mouths.

Good luck!

When I took my sons to dentist for the first time, I let dentist look into my mouth first. That way my sons see nothing bad happen. Then my sons had their turns, they weren't too afraid. Good luck! =o)

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.