Jump to content

Menu

Why (or why not) take young kids to the dentist?


Recommended Posts

I know they "recommend" semiannual dental checkups for every human being starting at teething age, but I'm not sold on it.  If the teeth and gums look good to mom and doctors, teething and shedding is happening as expected, nobody is in pain etc., how bad is it to not go until the adult teeth have been in there for a while?

 

What exactly do the dentists do in these semiannual routine visits?

 

How often do they find a problem the parents would not have suspected in a young child?  Versus how often they find nothing and the kid would have been just fine without the dentist visits?

 

Or do people find it compelling enough just to "establish the habit" and avoid fear of the dentist?

 

If you didn't have dental insurance and your only way of getting it would be to pay it 100% out of pocket, would that change your answer?

 

How old were your kids when you took (or will take) them to the dentist for the first time?  Was it because you suspected a problem or just because that's what responsible parents do?  Did insurance cover it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know they "recommend" semiannual dental checkups for every human being starting at teething age, but I'm not sold on it.  If the teeth and gums look good to mom and doctors, teething and shedding is happening as expected, nobody is in pain etc., how bad is it to not go until the adult teeth have been in there for a while?

 

What exactly do the dentists do in these semiannual routine visits?

 

How often do they find a problem the parents would not have suspected in a young child?  Versus how often they find nothing and the kid would have been just fine without the dentist visits?

 

Or do people find it compelling enough just to "establish the habit" and avoid fear of the dentist?

 

If you didn't have dental insurance and your only way of getting it would be to pay it 100% out of pocket, would that change your answer?

 

How old were your kids when you took (or will take) them to the dentist for the first time?  Was it because you suspected a problem or just because that's what responsible parents do?  Did insurance cover it?

My kids' dentist does an exam and the hygenist does a thorough cleaning.  He does x-rays every three years.  We started taking our kids when they were 4.5 - 6 years old.  My youngest had a phobia of doctors and our dentist didn't push her.  He was fine with waiting.  When she was 5, he "counted" her teeth to make sure she didn't have any obvious problems.  The next time I was in, he asked to take a look again.  We eased her into it and when she was ready, they did the full cleaning.  She had her first set of x-rays at 8.  

 

My first child had a cross bite.  I wouldn't have known that if he hadn't been in for his twice/year visit.  One of my kids had a cavity.  They were able to catch it early (he was 5) before it became a problem.

 

If I had to pay out of pocket, I would probably make it an annual thing, honestly.   

 

My parents never took me to the pediatrician when I was little.  I have a HUGE fear of doctors today.  So, I have my kids go to all the doctors recommended so they don't develop a fear.  But, most importantly, I want them to be seen, just in case something is lurking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I currently know two families who don't take their kids to the dentist.  The one little girl had such bad teeth that it was painful for her to eat.  Every single bite caused her pain.  She was 4.  I don't know whether or not they ever took her.  They didn't have insurance, but it wasn't even that.  They just were clueless about caring for a child.  Last I heard and aunt was trying to find a free dental service for the girl.

 

The other family's kids are older and they've never been (the oldest is 14.)  I don't know about pain for their kids, but they sure have some brown teeth.  They need to be cleeeaned!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

We started at 3 or 4 for DD, about 5 for DS. We go because it's an evidence-based preventive measure, and because we have no fluoride in our drinking water so the professional fluoride treatments are fairly important. Because we pay out of pocket we go every 9 months or so. DD turned out to have some cavities in her molars that I hadn't suspected, which were found at about age 4.5. The dentist found them with a probe, without x-rays. Unchecked they would have started to be painful, and could have spread decay to the incoming adult teeth. Catching them small, the fillings were easy and we were able to seal the teeth afterward -- she'll need those molars for a while!

 

I think DS had his first x-rays at 6. DD has yet to have any.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents didn't take us to dentists except for one time when I was 11, for a cleaning.  None of us had any cavities.  Not long thereafter, my brother developed a cavity, and my mom was convinced it was because of the cleaning.  So the only time any of us went to the dentist after that was to get an actual cavity filled.  My kid brother was the only one of us who inherited our dad's bad teeth and had more than one cavity as a kid.

 

FWIW I have never had any fear of the dentist.

Link to post
Share on other sites

dd2 had severe decay before she was consider old enough to go to the dentist and wound up with very serious problems that would have been easy to fix if the dentist had taken me seriously when I first noticed them. I have PTSD from that experience, so I started little ds early for ME. It also helped to establish a good relationship with the dentist in case there ever are any problems. When we finally found a decent dentist for dd, he had to work through a lot of trust issues before he could even start on her cavities. I pay out of pocket and take him every six months but opt out of flouride for the time being since there's enough in our water and will probably cut back on X-rays when it finally sinks in that he got the "good teeth" genes that she didn't.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't take my babies to the dentist when they started teething but I did start at about age 3 and they have been every 6-months since then.  Honestly, they didn't do too much the first visit, it was just to get the child comfortable and "count the teeth" while looking for any gross problems.  They started doing a gentle cleaning with the second visit but I don't think they did x-rays for the first few years.

 

We have never had dental insurance so it is all out-of-pocket costs. I consider it well worth it.  I'm trying to do better than my parents did.  We were taken to the dentist once we complained of pain, never for regular preventive visits.  I have needed a lot of serious invasive dental work in my adult years due to damage that started as a child. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with those who list:

 

*having a realtionship with the dentist/getting used to dental visits.

*preventative care

*quick(er) diagnosis of problems

 

Our dental insurance pays a portion of the costs. My kids started at 3 years old. DD was fine for almost 2 years (til almost 5 yo) then had MAJOR problems that hit fast. I was glad we had a relationship with our dentist when that happened.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If cost is a concern, I would look for a CC that has a dental hygienist program. The first one that popped up when I did a search in my area charges $30 for a cleaning and $5 per x-ray. They don't do anything other than routine exams with cleanings, but if a problem is found, they refer to UCSF Dental School.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I take my young ones to the dentist just to (attempt to) avoid any phobias or nervousness as they get older. I really don't want them to have to deal with fearing the dentist like I did. It also helps to have someone else tell them how important it is to brush their teeth well.

 

They see a pediatric dentist; and it is absolutely awesome. They give the kids balloons when they are done & tokens to get a toy from a grabber machine. The first time DS got his x-rays they asked him if he wanted to go in their 'spaceship'. The first time (he was 4, I think) he said no and that was fine. He was ready to do it hte next time.

 

That said, I usually only take them once a year rather than twice, at least for now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents didn't take us to dentists except for one time when I was 11, for a cleaning.  None of us had any cavities.  Not long thereafter, my brother developed a cavity, and my mom was convinced it was because of the cleaning.  So the only time any of us went to the dentist after that was to get an actual cavity filled.  My kid brother was the only one of us who inherited our dad's bad teeth and had more than one cavity as a kid.

 

FWIW I have never had any fear of the dentist.

 

It is indeed difficult to explain the difference between correlation and causation to a rigid mind. 

 

And how sad to have to wait until the decay became visible!

 

My son had his first oral surgery at age 10.  By that time, he had a great relationship with our dentist who recommended a fine oral surgeon.  Of course, most children are not born with his issues.  But many things are not visible to the non-professional.  I vote not to wait until age 11 to see a dentist.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We started taking ours regularly when they were around three.

 

It never occurred to us not to take them, so I guess I'd have to go with "it's what responsible parents do."

 

We've always had pretty good dental insurance.  Twice a year cleanings are usually fully covered.

 

We very likely would have taken them at least yearly even if we hadn't had insurance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We take our kids every six months.  I just think good in home hygiene combined with regular professional cleanings is preferable to needing a filling.  

 

Starting about three our kids have always allowed the Dentist to clean their teeth.  Prior to that age it's generally a quick look-see, playing with the water squirter and the rotating brush, etc.  Just to get them comfortable with the process.  Our Dentist allows me to stay with the kids and during their younger ages I sit in the chair and hold them during the cleaning.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents didn't take us to dentists except for one time when I was 11, for a cleaning.  None of us had any cavities.  Not long thereafter, my brother developed a cavity, and my mom was convinced it was because of the cleaning.  So the only time any of us went to the dentist after that was to get an actual cavity filled.  My kid brother was the only one of us who inherited our dad's bad teeth and had more than one cavity as a kid.

 

FWIW I have never had any fear of the dentist.

 

So much depends on so many factors. I inherited Mom's healthy teeth and when I was a kid and the dentist just wanted to "count" my teeth, he always ooohed and aaahhed over my healthy teeth. I never had any fear of the dentist and was okay with the orthodontist probing around and straightening my teeth as well.

 

Dh has terrible teeth material and nobody cared much in his family and small problems quickly became bigger problems. He is now also hesitant to go because he has had so many lengthy, uncomfortable procedures done.

 

Check http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/ and type in "teeth" and something will pop up. The writer is very much in favor of good food saving one's teeth. Dr. Weston Price also wrote books on how cavities develop and how to avoid it. Perhaps worth googling him and looking at one of his books.

 

TAYQ: I took ds in early to see if there were any dental problems and after that annually so things would get caught early and he would not have dh's experience.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Miss A's teeth were briefly examined and x-rayed when she was almost 3, because she had an accident that temporarily discolored her teeth.  The dentist was very happy with everything he saw, and her teeth have always looked great.  Only right now, one of her permanent teeth has something funny (whiter than the rest of the tooth) way down by the gum, and she says it is uncomfortable.  It didn't show up until now because the tooth only recently erupted.  So I'm about to set up an appointment for both girls.

 

Miss E has not been to a dentist, but she's always had plenty of space between her teeth and they have always looked good.

 

My girls are not the type to freak out at doctor/dentist appointments, so that is not a concern.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can tell you my kids started with 6 month dentists visits at age 3.  They've never had a cavity or any kind of work at 13 and 9.  I never saw a dentist until 6.  My first visit resulted in 5 teeth being filled.   As an adult, I try to get my cleaned every 6-9 months.  A couple times ago it had been 2 years (cancelled appts for multiple reasons - I had no idea it had been that long).  The scraping and cleaning was like torture.  I just went this week, it had been like 7 months.  It was an absolute breeze - in and out.  I can absolutely tell a difference in how my teeth look and feel when I have regular cleanings.  And I can tell in my kids too, especially my dd.

 

I absolutely think some dentists are gold diggers and I've left several for that reason.  I also think some of them are over suggesting ortho work for very slight imperfections.   Buyer beware as for anything else.  We pay nothing for cleanings, so that part is generally a no brainer.  But now that we've had regular cleanings for years, I will definitely keep it up, even if we had to pay for it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can understand not going every 6 months if you don't have dental insurance. If you can afford an annual visit, I cannot imagine not going until the child is in pain from tooth decay. Decay can progress quite a bit before pain sets in, so you may wind up paying more in the long run anyway, and the kid has a bad experience and damaged teeth.   

 

Routine checkups are also when they check for orthodontic problems (not always obvious), teeth grinding, jaw problems, gum disease (bad on its own and can be a sign of diabetes), and any sores or spots in the mouth (often not painful, can be a sign of oral cancer). 

 

imo, the only reason for not taking a kid to the dentist proactively is the utter inability to afford it. Many areas offer free dental care to children under 18, usually through a children's hospital or dental school. 

 

I would pay 100% out of pocket as needed, even if it was rather hard to do. I might 'stretch' visits but I would not simply skip them until there was an obvious problem - that's how my dental care was addressed as a child, and I went through a lot of pain and suffering as a result. I also had severe dental problems as an adult - if there's the slightest of chances I can keep my kids from the agonies I went through, I will pay until it hurts. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

As a former child whose parents didn't take to the dentist until age 12, I can tell you it was a nightmare to live with rotting baby teeth that literally crumbled out of my mouth. At my first dental visit I needed 12 filings! Because of my own experience I make sure my children have regular checkups even though we don't have dental insurance. I should have had braces as a youngster and I live with chronic pain caused by tmj that could have been avoided with braces while I was growing. In order to fix my  bilateral cross bite, the oral surgeon would have to break my palate and lower jaw and wire it for 6 months. I'm a big fan of preventative medicine especially for oral health. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We took dd5 for the first time when she was 4 and they said she had multiple cavities. They sedate them at this office so the kids don't learn to fear the dentist. She had another check up last week and she has another cavity. She's supposed to be sedated again Wednesday but I'm having doubts. I worry that she didn't really have so much wrong the first time or this time. They seem great there but how do you really know? We pay oop.

 

They x rayed both girls, even my 20 month. I asked about that and they said it's a highly focused x ray that is safe to use often.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I consider myself a responsible parent, but didn't take my kids to the dentist until they were around 7. If they had been complaining about pain, I would have definitely gone earlier. I only took them for cleanings about once per year or every other year. I only go myself about once every 4 or 5 years. I didn't have sealants put on my kids' teeth. However, none of us have any cavities. I'm 46, my kids are 22, 19, 16. I personally think cleanings every 6 months are unnecessary for people with good, healthy teeth. Maybe I should be posting this in the unpopular opinions thread. ;)

 

Each of my kids has had braces, however.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am kinda baffled by the cavity concept.  My parents didn't take us for the longest time.  Then I guess they probably came upon some money and felt guilty so they took us.  So...I was 8 at the time.  Supposedly I had a crap load of cavities.  So they filled them.  Then my parents never took me back to the dentist.  I didn't have a dental issue until I was in college (so we are talking over 10 years later).  I did have one cavity and dealt with it. 

 

Then...our current dentist said DS had a couple of cavities.  So we made the appointment to have them filled.  He did one.  DS wasn't being cooperative so dentist didn't press the issue and didn't do the other one.  It's been a couple of years since then.  Nothing came of it.  It didn't get worse.  The dentist never said he should have it filled.

 

Another example.... DH went to a dentist who told him he had 12 cavities.  DH has had no dental issues to speak of his entire life.  So I told him to get a second opinion.  So he did.  New dentist told him his teeth look great.  And he has been going to that same dentist for years and has never been told he has any cavities. 

 

So those things combined make me think dentists are freaking quacks.  Or the whole thing is more "art" than science. 

 

Anyone who wanted to do 12 cavities at once in an adult is a quack.  Like 15 years ago some quack dentist who had the fanciest office ever wanted to do like 3K in dental work on me.  I switched next visit and they gave me a couple areas they were watching.  Since then I've had one crown. 

 

I have genetically crappy teeth.  I think I'm more prone to problems than many and regular cleanings make a difference for me.  And so I do the same for my kids.  But absolutely, there are quacks out there!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

My dds go every six months. We have insurance and I can't come up with a single reason they shouldn't go. We've never seen a quack that says they have a mouth full of cavities or other issues, though.

 

My parents didn't have dental insurance when I was growing up and we rarely went. I now hate going even though I have great teeth. I have gone 15 years in between visits and had zero cavities but the cleaning was absolutely horrible and I ended up in bed the rest of the day. The cleaning was so needed, though, and my teeth looked and felt so much better when it was done.

 

I want my dds to think of the dentist as something normal and something they should keep up with because I do think it is important for overall health.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Due to weak enamel on their baby teeth, both of ours had visible cavities by age 2.5, even though we started brushing as soon as there were teeth and followed very good oral hygiene rules.  So they have both been under the care of a ped dentist from a young age.  Thankfully, as they have gotten older the chemistry of their mouths has changed some, and their adult teeth are coming in with great enamel, so the cavities have stopped.  Switching to an electronic brush has also helped prevent tartar buildup.  And they will both get sealants done. 

 

Having the ped dentist has also been very helpful when they have had injuries that involved getting hit in a tooth or another mouth injury.  We were able to monitor for root injury or abcess formation.  One boy had a front baby tooth knocked completely out and the ped dentist checked to make sure it was all out and checked for gum injury.  Another tore his front frenulum away from the skin and required stitches - the ped dentist met us at 10 pm and the stitches were done in a dental chair with nitrous, by someone with expert experience doing stitches inside a mouth, instead of in an ER with no nitrous, no chair and probably not that much experience inside mouths. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've moved around a bit so I've had at least 5 dentists. There was only one dentist that I thought was a quack. They wanted to do "new patient" xrays, even though I had copies of my most recent xrays (had been done 4 months before), so there was no reason to xray me again. They told me I'd need a crown. I had met this guy for all of 30 seconds and he said, "You need a crown," and wandered off. I tried asking the poor hygienist what that meant and what were the risks. She explained what a crown was but couldn't figure out what the risks could be.

 

When I left the front desk said, "Let's set up your appointment for a crown," and I said, "Let's not." Fortunately the next dentist was back to being reasonable like all the other dentists I've been to.

 

So, yes, there are quacks out there, but you walk out of their offices and find someone else. There are more reasonable, responsible ones than there are quacks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Because it can get expensive if you don't?

 

I wish my dh's parents had taken them to the dentist regularly (and they had insurance so there was really no excuse). Maybe then we could have avoided paying for a number of fillings - one that was so large he eventually needed a crown in his late 20s.

 

I take my kids every six months to the pediatric dentist. Ds has problems with the enamel on his back molars so ended up with sealants followed by a filling on one of them.

 

Iaside from cost/budget issues, I really can't see why one wouldn't.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also have experienced a couple of quacks.  One told me I needed to come back for 7 fillings.  I stayed away from dentists for some years and then found a new dentist.  This guy said I had 3 cavities.  Where did the other 4 go?

 

On the other hand, I noticed a hole in my kid sister's tooth when she was maybe 8, and I took her to the dentist.  The dentist said it was not decay and did not need to be filled, only watched.  That was weird, but nothing bad came of it.

 

I did a little poll on another site, regarding whether the dentists have found anything wrong with the kids that the parents didn't notice first.  So far most of the responses were in the nature of "he told me my kid will need orthodontics in the future" or the like.  Very few of them found decay etc. that wasn't first detected by the parents.  Most of the time when the kids had problems, it was already evident (to the parents) while the teeth were coming in.  And another thing - some of them were told that their kid needed to have teeth pulled to make room for the adult teeth, but these were little kids whose mouth was still growing.  I thought my eldest was going to have crowding because her baby teeth only just fit in her jaw, but her jaw quickly grew to accommodate the adult teeth she now has.  Also, both of my kids' adult teeth have been coming in crooked but then straightening themselves out very nicely.  I am not going to let anyone pull their teeth while they are so young just because of possible future crowding.

 

I have crooked teeth, especially on the bottom.  I never had braces and I've survived quite nicely.  I thought dentists would want me to have teeth pulled because they are so crooked, but so far nobody has suggested this (other than my unerupted wisdoms, which are still in there somewhere).

 

I do think that between parents, doctors, and the kids themselves, people can usually tell if there is anything concerning about the teeth.  And in the absence of big problems, I can't see myself fussing about [baby] teeth that are only in the mouth for about 5 years.  With fluoride in the water, healthy kids don't have that much tooth decay any more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, my dad's parents did take him to the dentist regularly.  He had horrible teeth.  He had false teeth before I was born (he was in his 20s).  My mom, on the other hand, never saw a dentist until well into adulthood.  She had zero cavities.  My mom believed that the difference was attributable to when the started adding fluoride to the city water (both of my parents were born in the same city, but my dad was born before fluoridation).  Could have been genetics too, though my maternal granny's teeth were bad like my dad's.

 

Oh, and needless to say, my dad was scared to death of dentists even though he saw them often as a kid.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a friend in 8th grade who had teeth pulled because "her mouth wasn't big enough."  She looked like a chimpmunk.  Years later as an adult, she still looked like a chipmunk.  A much less cute version of one.  No thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Once DS1 was 5 I started taking him and just folded the other kids in with visits at the same time.  They just had a cleaning last week, (and the "count your teeth"/get used to the dentist visit for the 1 year old), we schedule all their appointments at the same time.  The twice yearly visits are completely covered by insurance, so that was nice.  I didn't go to the dentist for years and I have a huge phobia, luckily all of my kids love going to the dentist.  They were excited all day on Thursday, continually asking if it was time to go yet.  If I could find a dentist for me that was as good as their ped dentist then I would go.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, my dad's parents did take him to the dentist regularly. He had horrible teeth. He had false teeth before I was born (he was in his 20s). My mom, on the other hand, never saw a dentist until well into adulthood. She had zero cavities. My mom believed that the difference was attributable to when the started adding fluoride to the city water (both of my parents were born in the same city, but my dad was born before fluoridation). Could have been genetics too, though my maternal granny's teeth were bad like my dad's.

 

Oh, and needless to say, my dad was scared to death of dentists even though he saw them often as a kid.

My dental hygienist moved out from the city and she said she was a little taken aback by the number of cavities kids had out here. She rarely saw them in the city. It took a little while to realize that of course, there was fluoride in the city water and none out here.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think they're fairly important (the visits, I mean).

 

My middle son had no problems at his first check up (around a year old). Six months later, after a hospital stay (month long) and lung surgery, he had several cavities (not sure it those things are related, but that's where the timeline fell). He had to have major work done, but it was specialized, as his weight didn't allow our pediatric dentist to do it in his office, so we traveled out of state to have it done - and we still need to have two of his teeth fixed.

 

Another time my eldest daughter hit a curb riding her bike and busted (we thought) her lip. There was no apparent injury to her teeth. She had a checkup a few weeks/a month later, and complained to the dentist that to her, the tooth felt "wiggly" - the dentist didn't see any movement, but took an x-ray anyway; turns out the root was dying, it had been injured (we assume during that fall - she hit concrete face first - but again, we had no indication that she had hurt her tooth, as she didn't complain about it at the time). We now know that eventually the tooth will likely fall out - in months, or years, and we know the course of action to take (bring her to the dentist ASAP, with the tooth, a temporary prosthetic will be made quickly, until she is fully grown and can have an implant).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I took mine from 2. My family has deep grooves, missing teeth etc.... DS has my teeth. He has only been xrayed twice, but he has also had teeth sealed twice. It prevents cavities and is a lot less evasive than a filling.

 

DD has dh's teeth. She has never had an xray as her teeth are perfectly spaced an our dentist says she has textbook perfect teeth.

 

The other thing our dentist goes over with them is how to brush and how long. I find it helpful having someone other than a parent reinforcing this. 

 

When we had no insurance we only went once a year, except the 2 times the dentist wanted to see ds at 6 months, but he comped those 2 appointments. If you find a good dentist, and have a relationship with them, it can be a very positive and good thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just know we will NEVER get an honest evaluation from an orthodontist.  They will sell us braces no matter what. 

It isn't that I don't care, but I don't have an unlimited supply of money.   So do I provide a roof over my kids' heads and an education?  Or do I get them Hollywood straight teeth?  KWIM?  This makes me nuts. 

 

We saw two dentists when Calvin was small.  One (connected to an orthodontic service) said that Calvin needed a palate expander right now.  The other (unconnected) said that there was absolutely no need.  He ended up getting braces when his adult teeth came in and now has great teeth.

 

Both my boys had their braces paid for by the NHS.  In order to get that, the orthodontist has to take specific measurements and photographs and get them approved.  Given that the NHS doesn't splash money around, I'm pretty sure that the braces were needed....

 

You could always run the criteria in this leaflet past any ortho and work out where the line between medical and cosmetic may lie.....

 

L

Link to post
Share on other sites

It also said don't not come in and see us just because your teeth look straight because there could be some underlying problem.

 

That's very true.  I doubt most of us can get a really good look at anything other than our kids' front teeth.

 

Oldest DS had an absolutely beautiful smile.  Nice white, straight teeth.  On the dentist's advice we took him for an orthodontic evaluation.  The orthodontist pointed to DS's smile and said "It just doesn't get better than that."  But then he showed us the x-rays and impression of DS's side teeth (molars? any term other than "side teeth" is escaping me this early in the morning!).  Anyway, it didn't take any fancy degree to see that they were very misaligned, or to figure out that if they weren't fixed he'd likely have significant problems down the road.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My kids go every six months from either age 3 or first cavity (DS5 had a small one at 2 1/2).

 

I just had my fourth root canal last week. I have two more that need to be done, one of them is a redo of a previous root canal, and then those three, plus one more I never got to, need crowns. Genetics plus three pregnancies plus never seeing a dentist until my first root canal at age 16 destroyed my teeth.

 

I'll probably spend close to $6,000 on dental this year, with insurance. I'll do everything I can to not burden my children with those costs in their young adulthood.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Each of my kids had their first dental visit just before a year...6 months after the first tooth erupted as is recommended.

 

I would absolutely take them at least once every year even if I had to pay our of pocket.  The dentist doesn't just look at their teeth but their gums and mouth, checking for any abnormalities or concerns.  She also cleans the teeth thoroughly and removes the built up plaque that leads to gum disease (which can contribute to other issues as well as cause permanent damage to adult teeth relatively quickly).  In our case it has also been invaluable to have a family dentist that we have a standing relationship with as it meant a quick emergency fix for a chipped tooth rather than an ER visit and a huge production (find a dentist, new patient appt, xrays, fix tooth vs show up and pull up records, fix tooth).

 

Dental insurance is really fairly inexpensive, you can look for quotes through a site like ehealthinsurance.com.  There are also clinics and schools that offer services for the uninsured.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this a legitimate question or just an opportunity to bash dentists?

 

Under no circumstances are you required to follow every recommendation of a dentist, so why get all upset about it?

 

I've never had any experience with 'quack' dentists, but I'm sure they're out there. Doesn't mean you need to see them.

 

We've had dental insurance for a while, and the kids go every 6 months for cleanings, fluoride treatments, and have had sealants. They love the dentist and I see no reason not to take them.

 

If I did not have insurance, I would probably still try to take them once a year for a simple exam and a cleaning out of pocket.

 

I had not been to the dentist for 25 years when we got dental insurance, and I had something like 13 cavities that needed to be taken care of. I'd rather not have my kids have to go through all those fillings if we can avoid it.

 

The dentist is not something to whine about. They are a tool available for our benefit. You certainly don't have to go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know they "recommend" semiannual dental checkups for every human being starting at teething age, but I'm not sold on it.  If the teeth and gums look good to mom and doctors, teething and shedding is happening as expected, nobody is in pain etc., how bad is it to not go until the adult teeth have been in there for a while?

 

 

What exactly do the dentists do in these semiannual routine visits?

 

 

 

I've never heard any recommendations to bring in children as soon as teething begins. That would have been at 3 months for all four of my dc. And what do you mean by waiting until "the adult teeth have been there for a while" when the adult teeth start coming in around age 5-6, but are not completely in until age 12 and above? My wisdom teeth have never come in, so are all my adult teeth in?

 

Our regular visits are to clean teeth, check for health of teeth, gums and mouth, and help to monitor the long-term health of the mouth. They can see the positioning of the baby teeth and watch how the adult teeth are coming in to help make adjustments. I certainly wouldn't expect an inexperienced parent or GP to have this kind of specialized knowledge or equipment to monitor this.

 

If we didn't have insurance coverage I would still take my children in for regular appointments. There is so much growth and development going on that I see this as an essential service. Do whatever you want with your own teeth - you have to suffer the consequences, but don't take risks with your kids' health and long-term quality of life.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My DD started going in with me at age 2. I'd have my appointment, and then she'd sit on the chair, smile, they'd look at her teeth, and she'd get hugs and treat from the treat box. It wasn't because there were any problems suspected, but more to get her comfortable with the situation. In our case, she actually does quite well in a practice which is "Family dentistry", so we never looked at a pediatric dentist. She'd bring her stuffed friends, and the dentist would look at their teeth, they were wonderful at showing her all the equipment, and so on. I don't think they even billed insurance for the first couple of visits, because they were only about 10 minutes or so at most, and were just tagged into my appointments.

 

From age 3 or so, it's ramped up, and by age 6 or so, they were basically doing the complete appointment, except that they do X-rays less frequently on her (I believe she's only had full X-rays once, and that was to check presence of tooth buds-DH has some retained baby teeth, so they wanted to make sure DD had a full set, since there are things that can be done to help preserve baby teeth if there aren't adult teeth to replace them). She's had sealants on her back teeth as well. So far, she's had no cavities. In her case, they don't feel a need for orthodontia yet, but are monitoring as well. We have always had the option for me to go back with her, and did so until about age 8, when she was comfortable going herself-at which time I started scheduling my appointments at the same time which put me in the cubicle next to her, so I can still hear her appointments.

 

We do have dental insurance which covers preventative.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We started taking our kids between their 1st and 2nd birthdays partly because our friend is a hygentist and recommended that age, and partly due to both my husband and MIL having a phobia of dentists. We did not want our kids to develop that phobia.

 

With our 3rd child we intended to wait until he was 2 to begin taking him but he was born with a clogged saliva gland and it was getting larger. The pediatrician had been keeping an eye in it, but when she got concerned we had the dentist take a look at it.

 

We have never had dental insurance, it is cheaper for us to pay for dental visits through our HSA. We do take the kids every 6 months although I have been debating changing it to 9 months, since they seem to have healthy teeth and no plaque build up. My husband and I have both been lucky in that we never had cavities until our 20s though, if we required more than regular cleanings we would start carrying dental insurance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We take our sons in every six months. Cleanings and exams. My older son has had xrays 2x and my younger son 1x. We did this before we had dental insurance and after. My kids are the first generation of people in my family with healthy, strong teeth and I don't consider it a problem to practice a little bit of prevention.

 

The only people I know whose kids don't go to the dentist at least annually are low income and don't have the means.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We started bringing dd when she was two, and she goes every six months for a checkup and cleaning.  She hasn't had a single cavity yet, so we'll just keep doing what we're doing because it seems to be working.  If I was paying out of pocket, I'd still bring her at least once a year.  If she does end up with decay at some point, I want to know about it sooner rather than later.  My dh, mom, and brother all have terrible teeth, so I'm cautious about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, both of my children have seen a dentist regularly since they were toddlers. My 9 y/o has had quite a few cavities filled but my younger child has never needed anything beyond her twice a year cleanings. Both of my children have VERY heavy tartar build up thanks to genetics.

 

I genuinely do not understand why anyone who has the means to go to do dentist would NOT take their children for routine cleanings/exams.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this a legitimate question or just an opportunity to bash dentists?.

Was yours a legitimate post or just an opportunity to bash the OP?

 

I'm not sure why you would have assumed she wasn't asking "legitimate" questions. What would you consider to be "legitimate" questions? :confused:

 

I'm really wondering. I re-read her post and can't find anything wrong with it, yet it seems like you're quite annoyed about it. Are you a dentist?

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have always paid out of pocket. It's not cheap but we go. And we don't have lots of extra money laying around. I just think it's important. Usually I stretch it out to every 7-8 months for the kids.

My parents were more of the "let's wait til there are problems" type. Didn't work out so well for me. By the time there were problems...there were really problems! I would like to avoid that with my kids. I myself do go every 6 months since I have had problems in the past. I've just made sure to find dentists I like and trust.

My kids love to go. We just went last week and they are so sad they don't go back til November :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I take mine to a pediatric dentist starting at 1. They go every six months and get cleanings and X-rays. We've often been without dental insurance and it was around $100. I consider it an important part of basic preventative health care. I've seen too many young kids with dental problems with their baby teeth that affected their adult teeth. I personally wouldn't wait for a problem to arise.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...