Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dentist Appointments and Dental X-rays

I debated when the right timing for the first dentist appointment would be. I waited until it seemed like Ari would feel comfortable. So many people get incredibly anxious about seeing a dentist. I figured let's try to have positive experiences so that when she is a grownup, hopefully, she will feel at ease and will take care of her health. We brush, floss, etc. and her teeth seemed fine, so I opted not to rush it.

Ari's first appointment was in June. At that appointment, she learned about brushing properly and she learned about some of the tools dentists use. The hygienist and the dentist took a peak at her teeth. She got to pick a toy at the end. That was it.

Six months later, last week, was Ari's first official dentist appointment. Her teeth were cleaned, polished, flossed, etc. The dentist did the 3-minute exam. Crunchy Mama, i.e., me, turned down the x-ray.

My after thoughts:

Ari was very comfortable throughout the entire appointment both times. She was very excited to go to the dentist, particularly the second time, as a matter of fact.

I'll insert a funny here. Daddy had to wake Ari up so we would get to the appointment ontime. It was a slow process. Once he reminded her about the dentist, she got up instantly and talked about how she would be getting a new tooth brush. Whatever works, kid! You'd think we never buy her new tooth brushes!

Back to timing, I like to think that us preparing her for it, talking about it in a casual manner the day before was helpful. Also, there is a DVD where Elmo goes to his pediatrician that Ari loves to watch every now and then. I remember the first time she watched it. It made her remember her ear infection last March. It raised some questions about her upcoming (at the time) 4-year-old checkup and vaccines. All in all, Elmo's trip to the pediatrician was a very positive addition to our family!

Going back to the dentist appointments, I think the way the first appointment was run, with very low expectations, was very crafty. I think the appointments ought to be closer together, as opposed to the six months they recommended. Little kids remember a lot of things. But, Ari didn't remember too much about it. If I was to do it again, I may request that the appointments are only a month apart or so.

My last thought has to do with x-rays. The dentist and the hygienist recommended an x-ray. It felt like the dentist was pushing it a fair bit. I asked about their reasoning for it. Their response was that the x-ray would let them see how her adult teeth are developing, if they're all there, etc. My thought: ok, then what? What are the odds that a tooth is not developing well or that a tooth is missing? Why expose my child? If a tooth was, indeed, not developing properly or missing, what could we or would we do about it now? I didn't get a convincing answer, so I said we would discuss it again next June.

What do you think? Have you been offered this x-ray for your children? Have you learned anything about these x-rays that made you think you really ought to consent to doing them? Any websites or articles you would like to share? I will be researching this, but, seeing as how the appointment is not until June, it's just not high priority right now. Ari is home and so computer time is limitted until next week!

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