Choosing The Right Time For a Trip to the Dentist

If Gingi Gin and Cavity Creep have it their way, your child will be one out of thousands of students that miss precious school hours each year because of dental disease.  That’s why a visit to the dentist is so important.  Let our Sidekicks at Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry help you fight against those flunkies – the Sugarbugs.

Oral health care is all about prevention and early detection to help avoid more serious issues like tooth pain, trouble eating, and school absences.  So that means some of the most important things are:

Planning Ahead

Obviously summer is all about fun.  We’re talking summer vacation trips, swimming pool visits galore, and late night runs to the corner store to get some munchies.  So yes it can be quite easy to forget that those lazy summer days will come to an end.

That’s why it’s so important for parents to remember to make those dental appointments before it’s too late.  And sure, you can try and squeeze one in during all the craziness that is August, between all those other million and one things you have to get done.  Or you can plan ahead and make an appointment during spring for an early summer trip to the dentist.

Timing Is Everything

Children are just like adults in that they have certain moments of the day when they have just a little bit more energy to deal with activities.  If you set an appointment too early in the morning, when the child is still groggy and hungry, then you’ll likely have to deal with some crankiness that can make the process harder.  

Or if you schedule right after a big day at camp (or school) then your teenager might not be up to the visit and fight you on the appointment. Of course finding the perfect time of the day may not be realistic, but at the very least, take energy levels into consideration to make it easier on you – the parent. 

“You’re Not You When You’re Hungry”

We’ve all seen (and probably felt like) the Snickers commercial where a famous actor is upset and acting deranged because they haven’t eaten anything.  Being hungry can make anyone grouchy and the last thing you want is an irritated child (or teen, or adult) on your hands.  Especially when a small snack or light meal can resolve the problem.

So make sure to feed your Little Hero a small something before the appointment.  Doing so will make the dentist’s job a little easier and will get you out the door that much sooner.  Just don’t forget to have them brush their teeth if they eat something.  It’s the polite thing to do.

Parents Need to be Calm and Collected Too

Children are great at picking up on a parent’s emotions.  That means if you’re nervous for them when they visit the dentist, they’ll probably mimic that same behavior.  Instead, be as positive and uplifting as possible.  Rather than mentioning anything that resembles “hurt for a little bit”, talk about positive experiences you had with a dentist.  

Also, if your little one is having a bit of tantrum at the office, don’t just react and “save the day”.  Help your Little Hero recognize that they have the superpowers to fight Plaki Plak and Cavity Creep all on their own (and with some assistance from our Sidekicks).  When you and the dentists work as a team, then anything is possible.  Let your child develop a good relationship with the Little Heroes staff and see how much smoother visits to the dentist can be.

Good Habits Start at Home

As Mom and Dad, it’s your responsibility to model good oral habits.  By helping your little one to develop these behaviors early on, you’ll help their next checkup be a cavity free-checkup.  So think about this:

For Ages 6 and Under

These Little Heroes are still developing their fine motor skills and probably need a little bit of support.  It’s absolutely fine to let them start the process, but be on hand to jump in as needed.

For Ages 7-12

At this age, continue to encourage healthy brushing and introduce flossing early on.  Kids at this age are usually a bit more reluctant to brush their teeth, so just make sure to make them accountable for their actions.

For Ages 12-18

Ideally, when your children reach this age, they are taking care of their own dental health and being responsible.  But this isn’t always what’s happening and it is very easy to let your teen begin to choose their own habits. Sure, they are growing up and need to learn some self discipline, but that doesn’t mean you should absolutely take a step back and let them make the final decision.  Continue to be a part of their dental lives and help them to make the right choices.

At Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry we’re with you every step of the way.  From the toddler years until high school and everything in between, our Sidekicks can provide the dental services you need. In fact, we’re now seeing adults too!  So pay us a visit at any of our 3 locations in Mission, San Juan, or Laredo and see how we can help you.


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