We were advised to bring the kids to their first dentist appointment between 12 and 18 months of age. We put it off until 18 months, because, well, ya know….who wants to bring twin toddlers to the dentist? Much to my surprise, the first appointment was easy and informative.
How to Pick a Dentist
You can ask friends for recommendations or use Yelp. We just went straight to our pediatrician because we felt she would have the most knowledge about who was good (and not). Her office gets that question so often that they even have a list of their favorite pediatric dentists that she shared with me. I researched each of the recommended dentists from the list and chose my top 2. I then called them to see which ones took our dental insurance. The first one on my list accepted our plan, so I booked the appointment with them.
What to Expect at the Appointment
I expected it to be apocalyptic. But, it was actually fun for them and useful for us. If you go to a dentist that specializes in kids, they know exactly how to make it a good experience. We found a dentist that only works with kids so they were fully prepared. The goal of the appointment was to get the kids comfortable with the office, meet the dentist, take a quick look in their mouths, and educate us on how to help keep their little mouths healthy.
The appointment began by having us read a cute Sesame Street book to them about brushing their teeth. They let the kids hold a toothbrush while we read the book. The kids ran around the office and the chairs for a few minutes, and then the dentist laid them back on her lap with Peter holding onto them (you can see the picture from it at the top of this post). She looked around for a minute and then they were done. They were dismissed to pick out their souvenir from the toy box and were given goody bags. The goody bags contained all types of dental supplies and tools for us to explore with them at home (see photo below). The idea is that they start to get comfortable with the idea of the dentist so that when they start to get real dental cleanings it will be productive and comfortable.
What we Learned
- Brush their teeth twice a day
- While all of their teeth are important to brush, the molars in the back will be with them until they’re 12 so it’s most important to brush those well.
- The best way to make sure you’re getting the back teeth is to have the kids lean back while brushing so that you can see in (like when you’re in a dental chair).
- If they have teeth that are right up against each other, you should floss. They recommend these floss picks so that you have a good grip on it while your kid wiggles.
- If your kids snack all day long, they’re more prone to cavities because they always have food on their teeth. Try to contain meal and snack times.
Recommended Kid Dental Products
These are the products that our dentist recommended to us:
- Floss picks – They’re easy to hold onto and they’re pretty small so they fit in the kids mouths.
- Kid toothbrushes – They recommend this brand. Also, they say to buy a lot of them because kids can be rough with their toothbrushes and chew on them. Have plenty on hand.
- Natural fluoride free kids toothpaste – This brand is the dentist’s favorite. Our kids don’t like the super fruity flavored toothpastes and this one is pretty mild. Since the kids are too young to know how to spit out the toothpaste, this one is specifically designed to be safe since they swallow it.