I've always thought that a kid begins their relationship with dentistry around age three, but I've recently learned that it is actually recommended to bring them in as early as their first birthday. Honestly, it makes sense; Rowan has had a full mouth of teeth for a long while now. And so I recently asked a couple of trusted Mom friends for referrals and today Rowan and I found ourselves at the dentist for her very first visit.
I was nervous leading up to it because R has been going through a bit of a shy/clingy phase and I knew the dentist in particular had an above average chance of causing her to freak out. We talked about it a lot before we went, and all I can say about the dentist and her staff is that they're amazing. Every detail is catered to little people and they customize their approach based on your individual kid (love this). This really came to life for me when I saw several tiny humans go back without their parents as we waited for our appointment and my anxiety began to worsen thinking that would be their preference for R too. There was no need to worry; the hygienist came out to meet us and talk to R and made every detail as smooth as she could, and I was along for the ride the entire time. They do encourage the kids to go back alone, but when they're a little older and after they have a couple of visits under their belts with the comfort of Mom or Dad nearby. This approach made me feel very at ease and comfortable with their entire staff.
They brushed, flossed, polished and counted her teeth and even applied fluoride, all done with her lying on my lap, head on a pillow in the hygienist's lap (and then in the dentist's lap for final exam and official counting). They were gentle and quick, sang songs as they worked, gave her stickers, let her practice with the tools, and had a Rowan sized television tuned into Sprout within easy view. They answered my questions, armed me with tips and tricks and lots of information (because I asked for it...I'm a nerd that way), and then sent us home with a goodie bag after allowing Rowan to forage in their treasure chest. She left with two prizes, one because she was a good girl and the second because she's a new (and awesome) big sister.
We return in six months, and I can't even imagine what a different kid my girl will be by then. She was definitely anxious and there were tears as they did the exam, but overall it went better than expected and all the way home and for a few hours after, she remembered the trip in detail. "Went to the dentist. Brushed teeth. Open mouth wide (and she demonstrates this part for added oomph). Good job!"
Agreed, my sweet girl. A very good job indeed. Here's to many more uneventful dentist trips to come.
R's favorite part was the waiting room and its awesome puzzles!