There are a lot of things about motherhood that threw me for a loop and left me scratching my head. There are also a lot of things I never thought about before that I have to learn how to do now.
Things like brushing teeth. Teeth that don’t belong to me. Teeth that are tiny and rooted in the mouth of someone else. Someone else who is small, squirmy, and doesn’t like having her teeth brushed.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about my toddler. Up until recently, I’ve been absolutely terrible about sticking to a twice-a-day dental hygiene routine with my two year old. I’d brush her teeth before bed when I remembered to, or when she was in a particularly good mood. Otherwise, I’d either forget or just forgo it entirely because she was tired/cranky/wiggly/screaming etc. You can go ahead and just hand me that Mother of the Year trophy now, thanks.
I’ve heard mixed things from my mom friends on when to take your child to his/her first appointment. Some of them took their kids to the dentist as soon as their first tooth erupted, others waited until they were a little less wiggly and had gotten over their intense fear of strangers. I’ve had in-depth discussions with other moms on their tactics to get their toddlers to hold still and cooperate while brushing their teeth (mine likes to bite the toothbrush and laugh). I have had success with letting my child choose a favorite song for me to sing to her – this keeps her interested, and helps me control how long I brush her teeth by adjusting the tempo of the song. I will also let her “brush” her teeth (which is really her sucking on the bristles and saying “Mmmm toothpaste!”) when I’m finished.
The conflicting information on when to take my girl in for the first time has been confusing, and how to choose one once we’re ready for her first visit has been a little intimidating. I found an extremely helpful website that is both informative in regards to pediatric dentistry and can help choose a local dentist. TopDentists.com allows you to search for a dentist near you. There aren’t databases available in every single city in America yet, but they’re adding and expanding every single day. My favorite part of the website is that they have a plethora of articles about the topic that’s most prevalent on my mind – pediatric dentistry. If you search “pediatric” you come up with titles like “The Pediatric Dentist Will See You Now”, “Choosing a Pediatric Dentist”, “Pediatric Dentistry FAQ”, and “Who’s Afraid of the Dentist?”
Okay, so it pretty much covers everything I was curious and in the dark about: when to take my child to a dentist, how to choose a dentist, and even how to deal with a fearful child. TopDentists.com doesn’t just cover pediatric dentistry; they cover a multitude of other topics like orthodontics, oral & maxillofacial surgery (think wisdom tooth extraction), cosmetic dentistry and more. There are also topics you can browse for various oral ailments like gingivitis, oral cancer, halitosis and tooth decay.
Raising a little person into a functioning human being can be intimidating; especially with all the responsibility it carries. Fortunately there are websites like this to help take a bit of the guesswork away.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I just realized that I forgot to brush my daughter’s teeth – after she ate a bag of doughnuts.