Pediatric Dentistry

6 Ways We Make Your Child’s First Dentist Visit Easier for Your Child and You

Comfortable, Quality Dentistry for Children

Scheduling your child’s first dental appointment can seem like a daunting task—even once you’ve found the perfect dentist, it’s easy to get caught up in worrying about the details. You might find yourself stressing out about insurance coverage, whether you’ll be late to the appointment, or how your child will react. Despite this, your child’s first dental appointment is very important; it provides a chance for their pediatric dentist to check each tooth for a cavity, since baby teeth are more vulnerable to decay than adult teeth, and to make sure that your little one’s baby teeth are developing normally. The appointment also allows your dentist to answer any questions you have about your child’s oral health. Here are just a few of the ways the team at our pediatric dental group works to ensure that your child’s first visit to the dentist is as smooth and easy as possible. 

1. We provide forms to prefill

Whether you’ve only been a parent for a few months or you have years of experience, you’re likely already familiar with the feeling of running late for an appointment, kids in tow, and realizing that you still have to fill out paperwork once you arrive at the office—oftentimes while keeping an eye on your little ones or trying to keep them entertained. We’ve streamlined the check-in process by providing our forms online for you to fill out before your child’s pediatric dentist appointment. Just fill them out in a spare moment and bring them with you to the appointment, so there’s less to worry about when you arrive at our office. All you need to do is make sure that you have your insurance card and any updated information about your little one’s overall health or medications.

2. We can schedule your whole family’s appointments at once.

When you have multiple kids, your days can fill up quickly; this can make it difficult to find time to schedule separate appointments for each of your children, especially if you have to take time off work in order to take each child to their appointment. We try to limit this stress by focusing on family dentistry, ensuring you can schedule all of your children for their regular dental health exams at once. You’ll be able to get all of their exams completed in a single afternoon, so it’s more convenient and easier than ever to get your little ones to their regular appointments.

3. We’re happy to discuss financial concerns before or after the appointment.

If you’re worried about affording your child’s dental care, such as a filling for a cavity, we’re always willing to discuss your concerns either before or after your child’s appointment. We can work with you to estimate how much of your child’s treatment your insurance is likely going to cover and help you to figure out the best way for you to afford any portion that isn’t covered.

4. We’re trained to handle anxious children.

Many children are anxious about going to the pediatric dentist, especially during their first appointment. It’s a new experience and they don’t know the staff well yet, so it can understandably be scary, but try not to worry about your little one too much. Kids’ dentists have special training to soothe this anxiety, and the entire staff is used to helping anxious children feel more at ease.

You can ease your child’s anxiety before the appointment by talking about it as a positive experience rather than a negative one; kids pick up on negative emotions, so they’ll be more nervous if they think that you’re worried. Trusting us to soothe their lingering anxiety will help you feel less stressed about the appointment as well. Additionally, let your children’s dentist explain treatments, like cavity fillings, to them instead of trying to explain it at home. We’ve perfected explaining procedures in simple, kid-friendly terms that help your little one feel more comfortable.

5. We offer emergency dental care for kids.

Dental issues aren’t always predictable—especially since kids can play rough or be clumsy. Toothaches or dental injuries like broken or knocked-out teeth often can’t wait for a regularly scheduled appointment and require immediate emergency dental care. When this happens, we’re prepared to provide the best kids’ emergency dental care for your little one, whether the emergency occurs during our regular business hours or not. Call our office as soon as you realize that you have a dental emergency on your hands. If we’re closed, our answering machine will provide directions to help you access our emergency line, ensuring your child can get the care they need right away, even if it’s the middle of the night. 

6. We submit your insurance claim for you as a courtesy.

Whether your child visited our office for a regularly scheduled appointment or for a dental emergency, we submit your insurance claim as a courtesy. This means there’s less paperwork and fewer phone calls with your insurance company for you to worry about—we know you have enough on your plate, so we take care of it! This allows you to focus on your child’s appointment with their pediatric dentist.

Whether you’re taking your child in for routine care or a dental emergency, knowing that you’ve chosen the best dentist in Rochester, NY, for your family can help you and your child take each step in their oral healthcare journey with confidence. The foundation that you and your children’s dentists lay out for your child while they’re young can help them develop strong teeth and build healthy habits early on—which will stick with them for the rest of their lives. When you’re ready to visit the dentist for a consultation, call our office or request an appointment with our handy online booking form. 

Oral Health

8 Ways To Make Brushing Teeth Fun For Kids

Make toothbrushing a habit for your child with the power of play.

According to the CDC, about 20% of children between the ages of five and 11 have untreated tooth decay. Regular dental appointments and opting for fluoride treatments go a long way in stopping tooth decay, but twice-daily toothbrushing is still one of the most important steps in cavity prevention. By taking advantage of the power of playing and having fun, you can turn toothbrushing into an event that your child can feel excited about. 

Here are 8 fun ways to turn your child’s daily toothbrushing habit into something they look forward to morning and night. 

1. Make daily toothbrushing an exciting, fun event as soon as your baby’s teeth start to come in.

Approach toothbrushing as something exciting as early as when your baby’s teeth first start to appear. Use a clean washcloth to gently wipe their gums twice a day, switching to an infant toothbrush once their teeth begin to erupt. You’ll also want to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment by their first birthday.

By getting your baby used to dental care so soon, not only will their baby teeth be healthier but they’ll also view toothbrushing in a positive way.

2. Let your child pick out a fun toothbrush and a new tube of toothpaste every three months.

An easy but effective way to help your child look forward to brushing their teeth is to let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. You’ll want to limit their selection to ADA-approved options, but from there you can let them pick whichever toothbrush and toothpaste appeals to them.

Be sure to replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months or as soon as you notice the bristles wearing down.

3. Turn tooth care into a family affair by getting everyone together for bedtime brushing.

When kids see their parents and older siblings get excited about brushing their teeth, they can’t help but feel the same way.

Gathering together in the bathroom to brush teeth and floss after dinner is a great way to make sure everyone in your family is getting in their bedtime brushing. This is also really helpful to keep kids accountable when it’s been a long day and the temptation to skip brushing is there.

4. Playing dentist is a great way to teach young kids about brushing their teeth and prepare them for future dental appointments.

Some very young kids might feel afraid of a toothbrush or having a dentist examine their mouths. This is completely normal and can actually make for a great opportunity to play with your child.

Role playing as a dentist and allowing your child to brush your teeth or look in your mouth shows them there’s nothing to fear. You can even purchase toy dental kits online to really make playtime feel more realistic. As your child grows more confident you can take turns being the dentist and the patient.

5. Print out a colorful toothbrush habit tracking chart and award fun stickers for morning and nightly brushing.

It goes without saying that kids love stickers and seeing their progress visually represented with them. Take an idea from teachers and print out a colorful toothbrush tracking chart. This chart could be for the week or the month. You can even repurpose a simple calendar and have your child decorate it to their heart’s content.

Every time your child brushes their teeth they can place a cool sticker on their chart for that day. At the end of the week or the month, you can reward them with a special toy or some other small prize.

6. Set up a stool or a mirror so your child can watch themselves brushing their teeth up close.

Young kids might find it difficult to see themselves in the bathroom mirror when they’re brushing their teeth. If this is the case, set up a stool or use a countertop mirror so your child can get close up to the mirror to watch themselves as they brush. This turns something fairly mundane like brushing their teeth or flossing into something interesting and new.

Being able to see clearly also encourages kids to brush their teeth more thoroughly and makes it easier to not accidentally skip a tooth while flossing.

7. Tell your child a funny story and read jokes in a silly voice while they brush their teeth.

Two minutes of brushing can go by really fast when you share a funny story or tell some jokes to your child. It also gives your child something to look forward to every time they brush their teeth.

Another idea is to let your child pick a goofy character for you to play out while they brush. Put on a silly voice and have fun. Once they’re done brushing, pick out a character for them to play out while you brush your teeth.

8. Change things up by letting your child pick out a song or a video to listen to while brushing their teeth.

The classic two-minute hourglass is a favorite method for helping kids time their brushing. This is effective, but seeing the same hourglass can be a little boring. Spice things up by letting your kid pick out a song to listen to while they brush their teeth.

Another great option is to play a two-minute video of their choice. Look on YouTube to find dental-related toothbrushing songs and videos, including some with characters from well-known shows like “Sesame Street.”

Complete your child’s tooth care routine with a visit to Dr. Shea, DDS.

When your kids need the best dentist in Rochester, NY, Dr. Shea’s office is the place to go. Dr. Shea is a dedicated kids’ dentist who provides preventive, restorative, orthodontic, and emergency care.

Unlike a family dentistry practice, Dr. Shea and the rest of the team are specially trained to work with kids of all ages, from infancy up to the teenage years. By taking your child to a pediatric dental group, you’re ensuring they have a wonderful experience with a team that’s adept at providing compassionate care with youngsters in mind.

When you’re ready to book your child’s next dental visit, you can either give our office a call, send us an email, or use our online appointment request form.