When Am I Supposed To Take My Child To The Dentist?
I was adopted from the slums of India when I was a month old and at just 4 pounds I was severely malnourished. The agency warned my adoptive parents that I may experience some health issues with my lack of nutrition and development. Thankfully I was raised in an incredible family that placed tremendous value on healthy living and taught me from a very young age to take excellent care of my teeth. It never, ever dawned on me that my own daughter might not like dental hygiene. Every morning and every night is like a mini wrestling match with my two year old (who I would like to tell you often wins)! She screams, she kicks, she cries when it is time to brush her teeth. Why? I have not a clue! So I decided to ask an amazing pediatric dentist Dr. Talia Pike, Founder of Pike Pediatric Dentistry for some insight on how to create a happy, healthy dental hygiene plan for my little one.
When do you recommend a chid go to the dentist for the first time?
I follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). It is recommended that patients find a dental home when the first tooth erupts or by age 1 (whichever comes first). At Pike Pediatric Dentistry, we offer complimentary lap exams for children ages 23 months and younger.
How can I help my child enjoy brushing their teeth?
There are many different ways to help a child enjoy brushing his/her teeth. Some tips that we tell parents at Pike Pediatric Dentistry include: singing the ABC’s or a favorite song so that the child knows when toothbrushing will be done; downloading apps like Brushing Time or Disney’s Magic Timer; playing the game “find the food”, etc. My older daughter loves to be able to pick out her own princess on the Disney’s Magic Timer app!
What does an appointment for a child include?
We start a new patient appointment by giving a tour and showing our fun “tools” to the child. If a patient is extremely nervous and fearful, then we treat the appointment as a desensitizing visit where we only do what the patient feels comfortable with. At Pike Pediatric Dentistry we send parents home with some tips for practicing (we give the child a dental mirror to take home, encourage the parents to read dental books like Dora goes to the Dentist, playing dental apps, etc.).
How does Pike Pediatric Dentistry make it fun for kids to go to the dentist?
We make it so much fun to visit the dentist! The fun starts in our waiting room which has a train table that kids love to play with. We also have video games for the older children. When the patients come into the treatment areas, we have tv’s that play Disney movies and the children get to put on a fun pair of sunglasses. As a mom of two, Dr. Talia Pike understands what parents and families are looking for!
We demonstrate proper hygiene by using our stuffed animals which have teeth. The children who require treatment sit in our movie room and watch movies above their head and get to pick out designs and a paint color for their teeth. The children never leave empty handed. We have balloons, stickers, tattoos and a prize box. We love to see the children leave with a smile on their face!
How often should parents bring their child to the dentist?
We recommend that a child visits a dentist every six months for an exam, cleaning, oral hygiene instructions, nutritional counseling, fluoride treatment and x-rays if needed. As a child gets older, there are changes to hygiene care (e.g. starting a fluoride toothpaste at the age of 2, starting with an electric toothbrush at the age of 3, etc.).
Our goal at Pike Pediatric Dentistry is to educate parents in order to prevent cavities from forming. There are unfortunately so many products and foods that contain chemicals, so I feel it is very important to educate parents about them. I avoid using anything that contains chemicals as much as possible such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which is present not only in toothpastes, but in other products such as body wash and shampoo.
A special thank you to Dr. Talia Pike for answering all of my questions regarding bringing children to the dentist and providing great tips! Make sure to contact Pike Pediatric Dentistry and set up an appointment to experience caring, high quality care for your children’s teeth!