On their first dental visit to our office, kids can have a little fun. We have learning lab modules, where they can put on a white lab coat. They can experiment with different cleaning devices for their teeth. They can use a manual toothbrush, a power toothbrush. They can have their teeth painted, and see the plaque on it and where they need to brush and where they're missing. They can learn about the acid on teeth, and how they can control that with their diet and with their plaque removal. I think what's unique about a child's first experience with us is that they can come have a little bit of fun.
Dr. Betts understands the importance of starting kids off on the right foot regarding their dental health. During their earliest years, your child will learn all the skills and habits needed to set them up for dental success later in life. Dr. Betts wants to partner with you and your child on their journey to good dental health. Here are some ways our Decatur, AL family practice can help your little ones on that journey with our first dental visit service.
One thing you should do before your child’s first dental visit with Dr. Betts in Decatur, AL is to let them visit the office with you. This can be during an office tour in our office in Decatur, AL or during one of your own appointments. This gives Dr. Betts and our staff a chance to meet and interact with your child. This will provide a level of familiarity that will help ease any anxiety on the day of their first appointment.
Dr. Betts suggests scheduling your child’s first appointment between 2 and 4 years old. This way, they are young enough for Dr. Betts to properly guide their dental development, and also old enough to be able to sit in the dentist chair for 15 – 30 minutes during their treatment. They will also be old enough to participate in their treatment with our hygienists and Dr. Betts. We have found it is helpful for children to come early in the morning when they are at their best for dental appointments.
I'm real excited about our learning lab. It's something we started about a year ago. Children can come in the office. Nothing's more intimidating than a strange place. I don't care how old you are, whether you're a child of 3 or 33. It's scary to come to the dental office for the first time.
We know that children learn by hands-on. The education is changing in schools. Children learn by hands-on, and I can't sit and tell them something. I need to show them, or better yet, I need to help them figure it out for themselves. If I can show them, for example, put a glove on and put some Crisco oil on that glove, and show them how when they brush their teeth that they're not getting that food between their teeth and let them floss with that, that hands-on learning makes much more sense to them than if I say, “You need to brush, and you need to floss.” That makes it real to those children.
It also eliminates a little bit of the fear factor because they put on that white coat. We have child-sized white coats for all different ages. They have so much fun with that. I heard a little girl the other day go, “I'm being Dr. Betts.” She was so proud and excited to do that. It makes them have some ownership in what they're doing. Then, you have their attention and you can give them the care that they need, and send them home.
Dental decay is the number one disease in children. We need to stop that, and if we can do that by making it more exciting when they come to the dentist, make them comfortable, and get them excited to go home and brush their teeth with the toothbrush that they chose at the doctor's office, it's a very rewarding thing for us.
Our Hands-On Learning Lab in Decatur, AL is one of the best ways we help our youngest patients establish good dental habits. These labs give us the opportunity to teach your children about dental health and the habits needed to keep their teeth, gums, and overall mouth healthy. Your child will get to wear a white coat just like Dr. Betts, will be paired with one of our hygienists, and will do many fun activities with brushing, flossing, and other dental health subjects. These hands-on labs are great at keeping kids engaged and interested throughout each activity.
Dr. Betts looks forward to meeting you and your child. You can call our Decatur, AL office today at 256-274-8680 to schedule your child’s first dental visit. If you have other questions or would like to schedule an appointment at your convenience, please use our online form. We will get back to you as soon as we can.