Children's First Trip to the Dentist
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For a kid, going to the dentist doesn't have to be scary. The DadLabs guys give you a guided tour of a pediatric dentist while answering the question: When does your kid need to start going to the dentist and what can you expect from these initial visits?


Clay Nichols: Hey! welcome back to the lab. I am Daddy Clay. Brad Powell: And I am Daddy Brad. You know what can really scare the crap out of kids? Clowns. Clay Nichols: Oh yeah. Brad Powell: Oh! And kisses from Aunt Mary and her big hairy mole and her glitter. Clay Nichols: And also, unfortunately, the dentist. Brad Powell: But it doesn't have to be that way because today, we are going to talk about taking the dentist off of the scariness. Believe it or not, the American Dental Association suggests that you take your child to the dentist for their visit at about age one. Clay Nichols: Yeah, but these early visits are important, not just for the dentistry, make sure that everything is progressing okay, but also to give the child a couple of experiences in the dentist's office before any unpleasantness is involved, needles, what not. Brad Powell: Here in Austin, we are lucky enough to have a number of specialized pediatric dentists. If you have one where you live, we highly recommend that. Clay Nichols: These pediatric guys have got tricked out waiting rooms with all kinds of fun stuff like video games, toys. It's really a lot of fun, helps put the kids at ease. They have also got some tricks in the chair to help these young patients feel comfortable. Dr. Sherwood: Typically, for younger child, say 3 and under, what we do is we have a private room where we will talk with the parents, interview the parents, basically, we spend a lot of time talking. We are talking about diet, brushing, if there is any medical issues or things like that, but in the meantime while we are talking with the parents, the kids can play. We have toys and stuff for them to kind of keep them entertained. If it's a little kid and they are anxious or nervous, we do everything, on mom and dad's lap. But it's very general, it's very non-threatening. We don't use any pointing or sharp instruments for that first initial visit. Usually, it's a tooth brush and may be a little plastic marrow. Parents have had a lot of baggage, a lot of negative experiences as a child and so they are already pre-disposed anxiety and the parents are nervous. They are going to - that their anxiety is going to spill over to their kids a lot of time. By saying things like, "it's not going to hurt," "don't be afraid," I mean, kids are not dummies. They think we will watch it and I will be scared. It will probably will hurt, so being careful and choosing your words wisely with the kids, and telling the kids that Dr. Sherwood is going to catch your teeth and then they are going to tickle your teeth or using non-threatening terms like that. For the little kids, 3 and under, when they -- if they start to get really nervous or anxious, there is not a lot that you can necessarily do to reason with them. Generally, it's just preparation, telling them what's going to happen, showing them what's going to happen, and then what's called tele show do, and do what we have to do and then just make sure we are not surprising the child and make sure we are not hurting them either too. And so if you treat the kids gently and give them an idea what to expect and don't hurt them, they typically are really, really good patients and they typically do better than a lot of adults do, quite honestly. Clay Nichols: That's all for us here in the lab this week. Please join us next week. We have a whole week dedicated to food, feeding, and messy disasters brought to you by Boom. Brad Powell: Hey dude, when is the last time that you went to the dentist. Brad Powell: Nobody wants to hear that. Nobody wants to hear about my dental problems. Brad Powell: Are you setting one of those -- you're setting a good example? Clay Nichols: Yes, I go to the dentist all the time on a DadLab's dental plan. Give me a break, you know what's scary? Brad Powell: What? Clay Nichols: It's your teeth. Brad Powell: None of that. Clay Nichols: What's up with that? Brad Powell: I don't like the dentist. Clay Nichols: You go to the dentist? Brad Powell: Are you crazy? Dr. Sherwood: Occasionally, we have kids that will try to run off with one of our little cars, or little toys, or something. We have a little scanner when they leave the door. If they leave the office, it will set off an alarm.