As we prepared to send Paisley to her very first school year there were definitely some housekeeping appointments I wanted to get checked off of the list - and her very first dental visit was one of them. I’ve been seeing a ton about Norwood Dental Centre on social media lately and I was just super drawn in by their personality and vibe. Dr. William Chin and his Fiance Amanda Nielsen, who manages the practice, took over 6 months ago and since then they’ve brought over 100 new patients through the doors. I reached out to them to see if they would be interested in sharing some tips for first dental visits and was greeted with so much enthusiasm and warmth. Here are a few details from Dr. Chin and some highlights from Paisley’s ‘Happy Visit’.
My child has never been to the dentist before - where should we start?
Many dental offices, including my practice, offer no-charge Happy Visits. The purpose of the Happy Visit is to ensure your child is relaxed and at ease at the dentist. During Happy Visits at Norwood Dental Centre, we give your child a spin in our cool dental chair, count their teeth and look for any issues, and show your child our dental gadgets such as the air/water syringe and the suction (a.k.a. Mr. Thirsty!). From there, the child receives a take-home hygiene kit and gets to pick a toy from our toy treasure chest. The more interested your child becomes in their dental care, the better chances they will have great oral hygiene! Happy Visits are also important for mom and dad, as they allow time to discuss any issues I’ve seen in the child’s mouth as well as any questions the parents’ may have.
Once your child is comfortable with going to the dentist, typically between the ages of two and four following the Happy Visit, they are typically ready for the first official check-up and cleaning. During this visit, we complete a formal oral health exam, clean their teeth, and take x-rays if the child allows. (And, as always, we end the visit on a high note with a trip to the toy chest!).
Dr. Chin, any tips for parents before bringing their little ones in for their first dental cleaning and check-up ?
As a parent, you can help prepare your child for a successful first dental visit. Here are some of my top tips:
1. Be a good role model.
Let your kids see you brush and floss daily. Seeing you maintain your oral health signals to your kids the importance of strong dental hygiene. Talk to your kids about why you’re brushing and flossing, and engage them in a dialogue about why its important they do the same.
2. Check out some dental-themed children’s books.
There are lots of great children’s books about visiting the dentist. Reading these books together can help familiarize and mentally prepare your child for what a dental visit is like. Some of my favourite titles include:
· Peppa Pig™ Dentist Trip (Scholastic Inc.)
· Dora the Explorer Goes to the Dentist (Random House)
· Jarod Giraffe Goes to the Dentist (Leelah Hope)
· Noah’s Visit to the Dentist (Speedy Publishing, LLC)
We have copies of all of these books at our practice so parents can read them to their little ones before heading into their appointment.
3. Introduce oral care into play.
Keep the conversation going and introduce oral care into play. Play is important to your child’s learning and development, and is a relaxed way to continue discussion about dental hygiene.
There are numerous dental specific toys out there, such as Dentist Barbie, Playmobil® Dentist and Patient, Play-Doh Doctor Drill and Fill Set, and JOYIN Doctor/Dentist Play Set. These toys are great, but you can just as easily incorporate oral health conversations with other toys too. Does the doll or action figure need to brush their teeth too, perhaps?
4. Make use of YouTube.
In addition to many excellent cat videos, YouTube has some great educational content to help prepare your child for their first dental visit. Parents have told me they’ve found “Caillou at the Dentist,” “Dentist Video (Sesame Street)”, “Dudley Visits the Dentist,” and “Billy Blue Hair – Why Do I Have to Go to the Dentist?” quite helpful. These videos offer another medium to introduce your child to dental visits in a friendly and fun manner.
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We’d like to thank Dr. Chin, Amanda and their team at Norwood Dental for an incredible first experience. Paisley had the best visit - she loved that they had Moana already qued up for her time in the dental chair and of course was so excited to pick from the toy chest. My heart fills right up every time we get to experience these firsts with her, just seeing how proud she was of herself with her little ‘great patient’ trophy was priceless. We will definitely be back to for her first cleaning soon!