Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
We want your child to have the most positive dental experience possible. Establishing a good rapport with your child now is crucial in developing a lifetime of good dental health. Far too many times we see patients that as adults have stayed away from the dentist for years because of bad experiences as a child. We want to do everything possible to make sure your child will WANT to come back to our office knowing it is a nice, safe place for their future dental care.
Here are a few tips we suggest:
- At ages 2 to 3, bring your child with you to your six-month cleaning appointments. The dentist may ask your child to smile, and show them his or her teeth, so they may get a treasure from our treasure chest!
- At ages 3 ½ to 4 your child is ready for his or her first cleaning. Kids do great at this age! We make this a fun experience for your child; choosing toothpaste flavors such as bubblegum or chocolate chip cookie dough. Kids do best on their own at this appointment, and will be sure to come out smiling after visiting our treasure chest!
- Always start your child’s dental treatment with a fun easy cleaning. Should the dentist need to see your child back for any fillings, you may find the following suggestions helpful:
- The less you say prior to the procedure, the better. Once your child is in the operatory, we will then perform treatment with the Tell-Show-Do method; using age-appropriate terms such as “tooth whistle” or “Mr. Bumpy.”
- Be careful about your choice of words. Say: “You get to come back and see the nice dentist” instead of “you have to come back here.”
- We may or may not have to use local anesthesia, so please do not tell your child that he or she “will be getting a shot.” Should local anesthesia be necessary, we refer to it as “sleepy spray” and the numb feeling is “fat and fuzzy” rather than “frozen.”
- Nitrous Oxide or “happy gas” will also be used for your child’s treatment unless medically contraindicated. Your child will be completely awake, but more relaxed. Nitrous Oxide also helps decrease the flow of saliva!
- Be conscious of your facial expressions and body language. They could affect your child. Pre-school aged children are only a few years beyond the non-verbal phase of their lives. Children can interpret silent cues and maternal anxiety without difficulty.
- While we understand you may wish to accompany your child to the treatment area, generally, children handle treatment better when separation occurs in the waiting room, rather than after being seated for treatment.
- Parental trust is significant. Parents, when your child sees that you are confident in the capability of the dentist, it empowers them and helps them to trust the dentist also.
- Parents, your child deserves our undivided attention. If you are in the operatory, you can unintentionally distract the dentist and your child, and furthermore cause the dentist to compete with you for your child’s attention. In order for your child to receive the best possible care, they must perceive the dentist as the authority figure.
- If you feel there are extenuating circumstances warranting your presence in the operatory, please feel free to discuss this with your child’s doctor. The two of you may develop a predetermined cue that indicates when it is time for you to leave, should your presence interfere with the treatment objective.
Parents, we realize that you are usually more nervous than your child! You can rest assured we will do everything possible to make your child’s first dental experience great!