Here at Cigno Family Dental, we realize that when it comes to dental health, many Milwaukee kids are underserved. Because there is a great need for children to be seen by the dentist, we decided to go out into the community and be part of the solution for Dental Health Month.
We care about all our clients, and we place a particularly high value on preparing children for their first dental visit. We want kids to feel comfortable hopping into a dentist’s chair at the dentist's office, because the first few dental experiences often stick with a person for life – for good or for bad. We want those experiences to be good!
Helping Kids Feel Comfortable with the Dentist at Their Dental Visit
For Dental Health Month, we visited local elementary schools and set up several different stations where we showed the students how to brush their teeth and examine dental x-rays. We also read them an interactive story about visiting the dentist. Our intention was to help them understand that the dentist’s office is fun, that it doesn’t hurt and it isn’t scary. This way, when they show up for an appointment, they’ll have a positive image in their mind.
It’s Important to Teach Good Dental Hygiene at their Dental Visit from a Young Age
Sometimes we’ll hear patients say, “Oh, we all just have bad teeth. It runs in the family.” We’ve found that bad teeth are not hereditary as much as they are environmental. It’s important for kids to start practicing good dental hygiene from a young age.
If kids incorporate dental care into their daily habits and understand how important it is for their overall health, they’ll be able to eat the foods they love and have less need for dentistry later in life. It will also lower their costs over a lifetime (and hopefully mean less trips to the dentist's office overall)!
After our Dental Health month events, kids come into the dentist's office happy to see us. They high-five Dr. Cigno, run up to the hygienist to give her a big hug or bring us pictures that they’ve colored. When a smiling kid shows off a picture she drew, you can bet she’s feeling very comfortable about going to the dentist.
We Use Stories & Play to Overcome Fear of the Dentist's Office
Dental Health Month paves the way for smooth dental visits that will last a lifetime. Dr. Cigno created a ritual many years ago that he uses with little ones: along with any dental care that requires anesthetic, he delivers a story.
Speaking softly, he tells them he’ll put the “cavity bugs” to sleep and that it’s important for them to close their eyes and get super quiet. He turns down the light and says, “We need to trick the cavity bugs into being asleep so we can suck them up.” Nine and a half times out of ten, those kids never even know that anesthetic has been given because it happens slowly while Dr. Cigno entertains them.
We ask parents not to tell their children frightful anecdotes about what it was like for them as kids because we create an atmosphere here where it’s very safe.
When Should You Schedule Your Child’s First Dentist's Visit?
We call the first appointment a “happy visit,” and depending on the child, suggest he be between two and three years old. We let them sit in the chair, make it go up and down and play with them at the dental visit. We ask if they’ll open their mouth, and if they let us, we’ll check to see if anything stands out.
By the time they’re four years old we bring them in and tell them we’re going to count teeth aloud, “One, two, three… what comes after three?” to get them involved. Usually we start cleaning their teeth at four or so.
Even if you missed Dental Health Month, make sure to call our office at 414-377-4604 and schedule your little one’s first happy visit!