Author Topic: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?  (Read 969 times)

Chrissy

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First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« on: February 23, 2018, 05:09:43 PM »
The Curmudgeon took our just-turned-2-year-old to her first dentist appointment.  I read to take them when their first tooth appears, or by their first birthday, but that just seemed insane.  I think I was 5 at my first visit.  No one in my family gets cavities until around age 12, then we get a couple and never get any more the rest of our lives.  Curmudgeon's family is the same.  Teeth of iron, I tell ya.  We decided to wait, and play it by ear.

HOWEVER, DD has a cross-bite.  Our research says, if she doesn't grow out of it by age 4, then we're looking at a spacer to expand her palate at age 7.  I decided I want a professional to confirm, and since we're apparently overdue for the First Dentist Appointment according to modern standards, why not kill two birds?  She's got a lot more than one tooth now, so it seemed worth it.

He took her.  She was uncooperative as we anticipated.  Dentist had Curmudgeon brush DD's teeth, confirmed our research about cross-bite, and sent them out the door in a hot second, charging $120.  We were expecting this, but, as Curmudgeon pointed out, that's more than an exam/cleaning at the dentist for either me or Curmudgeon, and neither actually happened for DD.  Sooo... we're probably not taking her back until she's got some permanent teeth or we suspect a problem.

What do you think?  What age are you taking your kids for their first visit?  How much are you paying, and what are you getting for it?

wordnerd

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Re: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2018, 05:19:11 PM »
Our first visit was a waste (also a two-year-old). DS wouldn't even let the dentist put the bib on him, so the dentist barely looked in his mouth and said to keep brushing. Not a great use of $90.

savedough

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Re: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2018, 05:25:19 PM »
We went at 3.  All of our kids have done well so far.   I have one child with teeth made of plaster because every time we go, the result is the same - "I can tell you brush and floss, but you have cavities."

I think it is worth it, but YMMV.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2018, 05:38:38 PM »
Our dentist had me bring my son with me to my appointments.  He was two when we started.  They gave him a ride in the chair after me.  They put on the sunglasses, bib and asked him to open his mouth and then they were done.  Next time they did a bit more looking in his mouth and were done.  It wasn't until he was four that they really poked around in his mouth and actually charged me for the 'check up'.  He had been in the chair about 6 times by then and had 6 gifts from the gift basket and new tooth brushes etc.  My daughter was 1 and a half when she would take a spin in the chair.  They didn't charge until she was about four either.  We had benefit coverage back then so it was only 20 bucks a kid. 
I love my dentist and her hygienists.  They work really hard to get kids used to coming to the dentist.  They go looking for sugar bugs and are really good at teaching them good oral hygiene.
By the time my guys were five, the dentist was considered a good place to go because of that gift basket and the Mario cart video game. And man- that was a good thing- my kids have crappy teeth and shit happens.  My son has broken his adult front teeth so we are in annually for a patch or reshaping and daughter's teeth don't fall out like most kids - the baby tooth hangs on and food gets trapped underneath.  And she gets stuff caught between her teeth that we can't get out. 
It has taken a while for them to learn how to floss properly - so finally we are having cavity free visits.  But for a while there it was often check up visit and then two or three or the worst time -  four follow up appointments.  That was an expensive time period because our plan had a $1000 limit per year per person. Then hubs started pinning them on the bathroom floor for flossing every night.  So that was fun for a while - now they have figured out how to floss and avoid long follow up appointments and freezing.  They hate the sensation of freezing coming out. 
My dentist is not a pediatric specialist but have they got a system down for getting kids comfortable and now my kids can handle it without any problems.  And at 13 and 16 we only have to nag them to floss- not wrestle them to the floor.
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Cranky

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Re: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2018, 06:45:03 PM »
I started out taking my my first to a fancy pediatric dental practice, and it was fine - but with the next two they just sat on my lap as toddlers and the dentist looked briefly at their teeth and handed out stickers, toys and new toothbrushes. (And charged us nothing.) They still go to the same dentist now that they are adults, so it was a good investment on his part.

Chrissy

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Re: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2018, 07:36:56 PM »
We ADORE our dentist, and would love to take her to him, but he doesn't do kids... I asked. 

@wordnerd this is how I'm feeling right now.

Lichen

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Re: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2018, 08:28:03 PM »
We started taking Boy1 at four or five, when the pediatrician recommended it. Up until then, the pediatrician simply peeked around in his mouth and made sure there were no obvious issues.

Boy2 went in for the first time just shy of his third birthday. He had a tooth come in with a hole through the side, weirdest thing we ever saw -- it just looked like someone took a drill to it. It wasn't a huge deal, there was no exposed dentin, the hole had enamel coating the inside, but pediatrician recommended we take him in for a filling so food didn't get lodged in there and lead to a cavity. Once we started their first visit, we just switched to regular checkups and fluoride treatment every six or so months. (Our area doesn't fluoridate water.)

Strawberry

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Re: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2018, 10:53:14 AM »
I just took my 2.5 year old this week and she LOVED it! She loved the dentist. She loved counting her teeth. She even loved the vibrating feeling in her mouth during a cleaning. She loved her prizes. I thought it was silly to go, but I'm a dentist-avoider and trying not to pass that on to her. So, now we have a dentist. We have excellent dental insurance though (free from both of our jobs), so it cost us nothing.

TrMama

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Re: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2018, 11:39:46 AM »
I don't exactly remember when I started taking the kids to the dentist. However, it was probably around age 3 and we have very comprehensive dental insurance, so if there was a bill I didn't pay it.

However, I have lots of experience with early orthodontia (which is different from basic dental care). My advise is to find a good orthodontist and just take the kid there for a consult. The ortho work our family dentist wanted to do was completely different from the plan the ortho recommended. The ortho's plan has been much cheaper and less hassle than what the dentist wanted to do.

Cost wise, the ortho charged a one time $40 consult fee. We've had many, many follow ups since then and haven't been charged for any of them. We'll have a big bill when he finally puts braces on her, but otherwise I'm probably the only parent on the planet who thinks their ortho is undercharging.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2018, 12:10:02 PM »
We started them at 2 or 3.  Primarily, we were letting them get used to the dentist and she would do a visual to make sure the teeth were coming in okay.  I think they also flossed the kids' teeth when they could (my youngest thought the dental hygienist was trying to kill him; he was a challenge for the first 2 years of dental visits).  They didn't start getting a full cleaning until they were about 4.

My oldest had to have a tooth pulled at 5 and another one at 7.  They weren't issues I had noticed, but the dentist was concerned with something about the way her other teeth were positioned.

I recommend getting an orthodontia consult when the kid is around 7.  Orthodontia standards have changed, and they work with kids much earlier than they did back in my day.  My oldest had her first set of braces in 4th grade (and so did half her class), and my nephew got his in 5th grade.  My kid will now be getting her second - and final - set of braces in 7th grade.

@TrMama , our orthodontist doesn't charge a consult fee.  I won't pay a dime for her until we actually put the braces on, and by then she'll have had several appointments with the ortho (we have to fix TMJ issues first).
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mxt0133

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Re: First Visit to the Dentist -- worth it?
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2018, 02:46:15 PM »
I too thought what's the point of bringing kids to the dentist when it's going to fall out anyway, so we didn't take our first child until 4 years old.  After the first appointment he came home with two filling and a CAP.  Then infection and having a tooth pulled a few months later.  His mother thought nothing of it, I flipped out.  Learned our lesson, the next two kids went as soon as they had teeth and we all are now very diligent about dental health.

Also +1 on taking kids to the dentist when the parent goes to get them used to the environment and associate it with positive health and not just scary instruments going into their mouths.  For us it was more parental education than anything.  Not everyone is educated in dental hygiene.