Dr. Shaw's Blog
It looks like Dr. Shaw has a kindred spirit on the east coast! Our patients have firsthand experience with this part of pediatric dentistry, magic words and all. Who knew having a tooth wiggled out could be so much fun?
6 Ways to Make Your Child's First Dental Visit More Fun
Here at ABQ Pediatric Dentistry, we receive calls every day to schedule first-ever appointments at the dentist. The calls vary by patient age and type of insurance and best day of the week to come in, but they usually have one thing in common - the parent scheduling the appointment is almost always nervous about the upcoming first visit! "What if my child cries or refuses to open their mouth?" is a concern we hear frequently.
We want all our patients to love coming to the dentist! Here are some pre-visit tips to make your child's first visit more enjoyable:
1. Have a Positive Attitude
When Mom or Dad is afraid of the dentist, they sometimes unintentionally pass this anxiety on to their children by saying things like "I'm sorry you have to go to the dentist," "No one likes going to the dentist," or "Better you than me!" (We've heard all of these in our waiting room.) With no experience on what to expect, your child looks to you to form their first opinion of what going to the dentist will be like. Be sure to focus on all the good things that go along with seeing a great pediatric dentist, such as keeping your teeth healthy and everyone at the office being really nice. The fun games, giant rocket ship, magic mirror with the Tooth Fairy, and getting a toy are always big selling points too!
2. Look at Photos Ahead of Time
It can be scary to go somewhere new and not know what to expect. We recommend parents and children look at the photos on our website together before coming in. You can get a sneak peek at all the neat things you'll get to see and do when you come to the pediatric dentist. Our office is designed with children in mind and everything has been tailored for their enjoyment, from the miniature dental chairs to the friendly astronauts waving hello.
3. Read Children's Books on Going to the Pediatric Dentist
You probably read The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist when you were a child. This book has stood the test of time! Other popular titles are The Crocodile & the Dentist, Show Me Your Smile!: A Visit to the Dentist (with Dora the Explorer), Doctor De Soto, and Zack at the Dentist. After reading stories about how much fun it is to go to the dentist, your child will be happy that they get to go to the dentist too, just like the characters in their books.
4. Establish an Enjoyable Routine for Dental Appointments
Some of our families don't just squeeze the dentist into their schedule - they make a day of it. If Isabella and Sophia are coming in today, we know they are going out for lunch before the appointment and they are headed to the ABQ BioPark afterward because that is what they always do when they come to the dentist. If Matthew is coming in this morning, we know his parents have packed a picnic lunch for afterward. Short on time? Something as simple as always letting your child pick out a new toothpaste at the store can add an extra element of fun to your six-month routine.
5. Play Pediatric Dentist
Take turns playing dentist with your child, letting them gently brush your teeth and then switching places. Be sure to model a positive experience by focusing on how easy it is and how it does not hurt at all. Mentioning things like getting a shot or having a cavity drilled may seem funny to your child at the time, but scary when they arrive at the real dentist's office. You can also encourage your child to roleplay being the pediatric dentist with their dolls or stuffed animals. If you overhear them tell their patient that something is going to hurt, you can clarify that the pediatric dentist just brushes and counts their teeth, so nothing is going to hurt.
6. Schedule a Morning Appointment
We have seen firsthand that young children do better in the morning, rather than toward the end of the day when they are tired. Be mindful not to schedule an appointment when your child usually naps – a very grumpy time! Another benefit of coming in the morning is that the office is less busy than when school gets out. After school, when the office is packed with rambunctious teenagers, can be a hectic time in a pediatric dental office. In the morning, more one-on-one time can be spent with each child, it's quiet, and young children are less likely to feel overwhelmed.
Dr. Rachelle Shaw has been an Albuquerque pediatric dentist for more than 30 years. During this time, she has worked hand in hand with child development experts, including physical therapists, educators, pediatric psychiatrists, and more. She has cared for children with developmental delays and special needs and knows the unique challenges these patients can face. Children who fall behind on developmental milestones benefit greatly from early intervention. Below is a list of cognitive, behavioral, and physical milestones that are commonly seen in a child's early development.
Age 1-3 Months
- Following moving objects with their eyes
- Lifting head while on their stomach
- Reacting to sudden noises or movements
- Cooing sounds
- Grasping objects if placed in hand
Age 3-6 Months
- Attempting to roll over
- Lifting head and chest while on their stomach
- Recognizing familiar people and objects
- Turning head toward sounds
Age 6-9 Months
- Passing objects from hand to hand
- Enjoying social games, such as peek-a-boo
- Rolling from their back to stomach and vice versa
- Continuing to sit when placed in a sitting position
- Beginning to creep on stomach
- Can feed self a cookie or a cracker
Age 9-12 Months
- Can wave goodbye
- Pulling self into a standing position
- Recognizing their own name and simple words, like "cat"
- Able to stack two blocks
Age 12-15 Months
- Able to stack more than two blocks
- Understand simple commands like 'put it down'
- Can feed self
- Walking with assistance
- Can say "Mama," "Dada," and a few other words
Age 15-18 Months
- Walking on own
- Can scribble with crayons
- Plays pretend, like talking on a toy phone
- Points to items of interest
- Can identify pictures, such as a dog
- Able to throw a ball
Age 18-24 Months
- Recognizing their reflection in a mirror
- Can speak using two or more words at a time
- Vocabulary is growing
- Able to complete simple jigsaw puzzles with basic shapes
Age 24-30 Months
- Playing with other children for short period
- Can speak in short sentences
- Can feed self with a spoon
- Running and jumping
- Can kick a ball
- Able to climb up and down stairs
- Can help dress and undress self
Readers of the Albuquerque Journal were likely pleased to learn recently that our city has been ranked one of the best in the nation for filming. Popular shows like Better Call Saul, as well as other factors such as film infrastructure, our beautiful landscape, and a generous tax credit, helped Albuquerque cinch a number 6 position, up two places from the previous year. It's another great reason to keep your teeth healthy and clean with regular visits to the dentist - you never know when the Paparazzi might appear!
There was another benefit to filming here that was not specified in the article. We feel it is worth mentioning. Our talented and hard-working residents - children included! Several of our patients have been regaling us with stories of their time "on set". From the smallest youngsters to teens stretching their acting chops, our patients can be seen on screens large and small. A few siblings even spent the day behind bars recently, locked away on a movie prison set. Their favorite part of the Hollywood experience? Access to the snack bar, though they're quick to point out that they aren't permitted to eat the real meals set aside for celebrities.
These pediatric dental patients dream of becoming big movie stars. We tell them that it can happen! Many years ago, one of our patients joined the Albuquerque Children's Theater and acted in plays at St. Pius X High School, where he was a student. He even performed at Cliff's Amusement Park. After that? He made the jump from Albuquerque to Tinseltown and Dr. Shaw has enjoyed watching him on ABC ever since. With hard work to achieve your dreams, anything is possible.
Have you visited one of the La Montañita Co-op locations lately? La Montañita is New Mexico’s largest community-owned natural foods market and it was featured today in the Albuquerque Journal. It's also a great place to run into Dr. Shaw and her staff!
When Dr. Shaw's children were little, it was a perfect place to shop for healthy, organic fruits and vegetables. The hands-on exposure to such a large variety of foods is a fun way to encourage healthy eating. She was even able to use the Co-op to help teach her children about farming, as the produce comes from local suppliers right here in Albuquerque and the surrounding areas, close enough for an in-person visit.
Today, with Dr. Shaw's three children grown and (mostly) out of the nest, she and her husband still love to visit La Montañita. They have a hot foods bar with a different meal offered every day. For her patients and their parents, Dr. Shaw recommends La Montañita for many reasons, her favorite being the store policy of providing a pesticide-free piece of fruit to keep little ones happy while grocery shopping.
6 Reasons to Make Dr. Shaw's Pediatric Dental Office Your Child's Dental Home:
- Pay nothing at the time of service. Checkups, teeth cleanings, and other preventative services, including your child’s first visit, are covered 100% by most insurance plans. Even better, studies show that receiving preventative care early in life can greatly reduce out-of-pocket dental expenses when you are older.
- Want proof that kids really do love coming to our office? In addition to our 5-star reviews and Best Pediatric Dentist ranking with Albuquerque Magazine, many of the patients we have now are the children of Dr. Shaw’s former, now-adult patients! You can't get a better recommendation for a dentist than that.
- For every new patient, Dr. Shaw gives $30 to PBS Kids, which provides free educational programming. She is proud to support multiple children's causes in New Mexico.
- Toothache? Dental emergency? Just found yourself with a couple of extra minutes in your day and remembered your 14 year old has not been to the dentist since they were 8? We have same day appointments available.
- Your child is actually going to look forward to going to the dentist. From our rocket ship that blasts imaginations into space to the one-on-one visits with Sabrina the Tooth Fairy, we make every part of your child’s visit fun. There's a reason we've been described as the Space Camp of dentistry.
- You won’t find a nicer dental team anywhere else. We love kids! It's rewarding to watch our patients grow and be considered part of your family.
ABQ Pediatric Dentistry
We have received many kind comments from patients on our Facebook page. Please click this post to see more.
You Might Call These BABY Baby Teeth
As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, of which Dr. Shaw is a member, we usually see children for their initial checkup around their first birthday. However, we have also seen them much younger, even as newborns. Sometimes, babies are born with teeth! These are called natal teeth. Some babies also have neonatal teeth, which are teeth that erupt within their first month of life. Surprise!
Our office has received many calls over the years from concerned parents who were advised to have their baby's natal teeth removed, which brings me to the best part of this blog post. Contrary to popular belief, and a relief to new parents everywhere, extracting these teeth is often not necessary if they are cared for properly and supervised by an experienced dentist. Every child is unique. The dentist and dental team will work together to create the best plan for your family.
Ah, the fun and excitement of working in a pediatric dental office!
Kids and Juice
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised their recommendation on 100% fruit juice. "Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable covered cups that make it easy to consume throughout the day, nor should they be given juice at bedtime." For children under age 1, they recommend no juice at all.
Many parents only buy juice labeled 100% fruit. Unfortunately, even 100% fruit juice is harmful to your teeth, especially when sipped throughout the day. Eating fresh fruit is a healthier choice.
"The problem is, parents will stick a bottle or sippy cup in the kid's mouth and kind of leave it there all day," Dr. Steven A. Abrams, of the University of Texas and the statement's co-author, told CNN. "That's not good from the calorie-intake perspective, and it's sure not good for the teeth. What happens is, the kid then gets used to all the sugar, and then they won't drink water."
Here are the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Intake of juice should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3. For children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day.
- Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable “sippy cups” that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day.
- The excessive exposure of the teeth to carbohydrates can lead to tooth decay, as well. Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime.
- Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits and be educated about the benefits of the fruit as compared with juice, which lacks dietary fiber and may contribute to excessive weight gain.
- Human milk or infant formula is sufficient for infants, and low-fat/nonfat milk and water are sufficient for older children.
- Consumption of unpasteurized juice products should be strongly discouraged for children of all ages.
- Children who take specific forms of medication should not be given grapefruit juice, which can interfere with the medication’s effectiveness. In addition, fruit juice is not appropriate in the treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea.
Getting to Know Us
At Dr. Shaw’s office, we’re one big, happy dental family. With your child coming to see us twice a year for 18+ years, we love for you to feel like part of our family too! We’re privileged to watch children blossom into unique, awesome individuals. We learn so much about each person, it seems only fair that you get to learn a little about us too.
The people working here have many interesting backgrounds and hobbies. You may meet someone who…
…decorates fancy cakes
…sold more than 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies when she was younger (3 years in a row!)
…is president of the UNM Pre-Dental Society
…has been skydiving
…would not go skydiving for a million dollars!
…was born in Australia and has snuggled with baby kangaroos
…recently drove to El Paso to rescue a litter of adorable kittens
…drives the coolest car ever (electric!)
…is a member of a community service sorority
…has won medals in the Senior Olympics
…is writing a novel that will make you laugh so hard you’ll cry
…has walked the runway during New York Fashion Week (and, yes, the rest of us are super-envious!)
…has been to the Seychelles
…has a son in medical school
During your next visit to our office, see if you can match each fun fact with the correct person.
10 Little-Known Reasons Kids Love Dr. Shaw (and Her Staff!)
1. Dr. Shaw has watched Frozen. Ask her nicely and she might break into song.
2. It’s actually fun to lose a tooth at our office (really!) because Dr. Shaw never “pulls” or “extracts” teeth. She uses magic.
3. The bane of Dr. Shaw’s existence? Homework. Oh, how she loathes homework.
4. Dr. Shaw is much cooler than she lets on. She knows Maroon 5. She also knows Paul Simon, but none of the kids ever knows who that is!
5. No judgment here – we’re chocolate lovers too! Just please, please use your Gel-Kam fluoride afterward.
6. We never throw away a present from a patient. After more than 30 years in practice, Dr. Shaw has collected quite the stack of crayon drawings and handmade greeting cards!
7. Dr. Shaw has an enormous freezer stocked with organic, all-natural, artificial color-free, no preservative, high vitamin C bars made with real strawberries, cherries, and tangerines (also known as popsicles).
8. We didn’t let her buy the ones with kale, spinach, and broccoli.
9. We help the Tooth Fairy dream up new ways to delight and amaze. Anyone can leave a dollar bill under a pillow. Rumor has it our Tooth Fairy leaves fairy dust as well.
10. You never know what you’ll discover on a trip to Dr. Shaw’s office. There’s even a flying Basset Hound!
Over the years, Dr. Shaw has had the pleasure of caring for thousands of children. Word of mouth is our #1 source of referrals, which is a great compliment! But don't just take our word for it - visit our Facebook page and click "Visitor Posts" in the left-hand column. There, you will find office photos and reviews from many of our happy patients and their families.
It's always bittersweet when a child we've cared for over the years graduates to an adult dentist. Last week, we said goodbye to our little Andy (who is not so little anymore) and his mom for what we thought would be the last time. Imagine our surprise when Andy's mom dropped by the next day, complete with a thank you card and a gorgeous fruit bouquet!