Reflecting on dental visits: Then & now

As I compare my girls dental visits to those of my past, I am struck by 3 differences.

Scale-My childhood dentist had a Pac Man machine in his office (there I go dating myself again). And I thought it was awesome! But now when I walk into my my girls’ dentist’s office, I think I may have been deprived! The main area has several video game consoles along with several television screen playing some kid-friendly movie.

Fear of Dentists-Back in my day, if you were afraid and struggled when the dentist had his hand in your mouth, you ended up strapped in and laying flat on your back. I had a cousin who was absolutely traumatized by this experience. When my youngest began going to the dentist (around 18 months…the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends kids begin going after they get their first tooth or by their first birthday), the dentist was extremely patient. She let her sit on my lap, showed her all of the tools and used big sister to demonstrate how she cleans teeth. This is how several visits went. And now at age 6, my daughter loves the dentist. And for those times when children do get anxious, let’s say when they are having a cavity filled, they can sit back in a the chair, headphones on and eyes affixed to the television screen in the ceiling.

Timing-Braces are a rite of passage. And when I was a kid, most people (myself included) didn’t get braces until high school. But things are different today. A few weeks ago, my 9 year old got her first set of braces….That’s right, I said first set. And my daughter isn’t alone, a number of classmates and friends have braces too. (*Note that I said “first set”. After 18 months of braces to correct her bite we will take a small break from braces until all of her permanent teeth come in. And right around middle school, we will go in for round two. This time to ensure she has a picture-perfect smile.)

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