Doctor James Ross on your child’s first visit
At the age of two, children will have their full complement of their primary teeth, or their baby teeth. I feel, depending on the child, between two and three is a good age to begin. There’s certainly things that we want our parents to be doing before that age. I participated in a program over at a large hospital in our area, over at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. It was an expectant parent program that I was involved in for 10, 12 years where we spoke with expectant parents on dental care. One of the things that I think is important is from early on with the baby is to actually clean the ridges, the lower and the upper ridges, before they ever even get teeth. It enables the child to get used to you being in the mouth and cleaning.
It also keeps the tissue clean because if there’s debris on the tissue, just the gums without any teeth there, the blood vessels will rise to the surface and dilate and you have an inflamed and swollen area. That causes the ”teething” pain that kids have when they are getting their teeth. By keeping a clean environment, the teeth are erupting in a healthy area of tissue and they don’t have the pain that they normally would have of going through a normal teething process.
There’s lots of things like that that we want parents to start habits really early, even before their first visit. I find on the first visit what works well with our patients is if they are the first child, to come in with Mom or Dad on a cleaning appointment and where the other parent, if they can be there, to watch the child. It’s really not their appointment, but they are able to get used to, meet the team, get used to the environment, go into the individual room, look and see there’s a light that hangs from the ceiling, there’s a TV in the corner, there’s a camera on the side, and just get used to it without being thrown in that, ”Hey, it’s your appointment.” They can just observe.
I find many times the child asks, ”Can I sit up on the chair? Can I do that?” Then they’re wanting to do it rather than being forced to do it. I find if it’s a second child, that it works best to have them come in when their older sibling is there because they wanna do everything that the older sibling does. If they can see that their older brother, Johnny, is in there and he’s having a great time and loves it and he gets a little prize in the prize box afterwards, he’s wanting to jump up there and open wide just like his older brother or sister.