Hillary Chybinski: Taking Your Kids to the Dentist

Monday, May 17, 2010

Taking Your Kids to the Dentist

Tips for finding a great dentist for you and your child.

Do your children see a dentist?  Is the dentist a family dentist or a pediatric dentist?

When Ryan was little - probably only around 2. . .I noticed a dark spot on his front tooth. . .not like a cavity, but an off-white spot.  I did a little online research and scared the crap out of myself with pictures of rotting decaying baby teeth from baby-bottle mouth.  But here's the rub - we didn't use bottles. . .we nursed exclusively or used a sippy cup.

So I started looking for a pediatric dentist. . .I went to one who immediately upon hearing we were still nursing - told me that night nursing was the cause.  Needless to say - that is NOT the dentist we saw.

At the time, I was actively involved in a local nursing mothers group, and they had a pediatric dentist that advertised in their newsletter.  I called her.

I'm not a total believer in love at first sight. . .but this woman is amazing.  Dr. Angel was so kind and so nurturing - to Ryan AND to me.  She told me that our night nursing COULD have contributed to this - but also could have nothing to do with it.  We talked about a plan to correct the damage that was there and how to combat any future problems.  She assured me that some kids just have bad teeth, and that bad baby teeth did not mean your child was destined to a lifetime of dental visits.

We have been seeing Dr. Angel ever since. Owen went this morning for a cleaning, fluoride treatment (yes, controversial) and a few x-rays.  There were no tears, no clinging, no nothing.

Here are my tips for taking your child to a dentist:
  • Find a GREAT dentist.  One with a good demeanor and staff for children. Chairside manner MATTERS.  Toys in the lobby and bright paint, does NOT mean they can relate to your child.
  • If you have trouble finding one - ask your friends, or other moms in your neighborhood for recommendations. Referrals can be a blessing.
  • Talk to your child before you go about what to expect.  Last night, Owen chose to read Little Critter Goes to the Dentist as his bedtime story.  Today, we could relate things from the book to what was happening.
  • Be positive and encouraging.  Your child can sense when you're freaking out - even if it's only on the inside.
What are your tips and experiences with your child's dentist?

catch you soon -


  1. Thanks for this post. My son is 2.5 and I am debating what to do about a dentist for him. My dentist suggested bringing him in at age three, but I think a pediatric dental office might be less frightening. Glad your boys are such troopers!

  2. John and Emma go to a pediatric dentist, Gersh and Champion in Cherry Hill, NJ. Emma recently had to have 2 cavities filled and the combination of the soothing staff and cartoons on the TV over the chair kept her calm though the 45 minutes of drilling. I on the other hand was cringing at the sound and nearly ran screaming from the building!

  3. My guy has never been to the dentist. I know they say they should go at three... when did you start O? I'm so dreading trying to find a good place.

  4. This is a "shout out" for our "family dentist" Dr. Edward Wenda of Raleigh, NC. We grew up down the street from each other and I am old enough to have been his babysitter! He is sweet, Southern, kind and gentle and has a wonderful way with all of us. Even Daddy Joe -- the biggest chicken of them all. None of the kids ever minded going back alone for cleaning, x-rays and the exam. He recently referred us to an orthodontist for a 7 yo with big teeth and a small mouth. so far that's been good as well!