Children’s Dentistry: What You Should Know About Your Child's First Visit

Children's DentistryTo learn more about children's dentistry, give our office a call. We can help to keep you and your family in excellent oral health. Call our office to schedule a dental examination and in the meantime here is what you should know about children's dental care.

Children's dentistry has its own unique set of challenges and joys. With challenges come the ability to overcome those challenges and share helpful hints, tips, and inside tricks that work to ensure your children have a very pleasant experience at their dentist appointments. One lesson every professional in the field of children's dentistry will tell you is that the first visit a child can remember will set the stage for years, even a lifetime, of relationships with a dentist, good or bad. In fact, recent studies have proven what those who practice children's dentistry have known for a very long time. Roughly 45 percent of the American public does not visit the dentist with any regularity. Of that, a very large percentage can trace their refusal to go to the dentist to an experience or an unaddressed fear that stems from their childhood. Our goal is to make sure your child has a strong and healthy relationship with all fields of medicine, particularly dentistry, so they have great teeth and good oral health. To do this, we focus a great deal of attention on making sure children have good memories of our offices and their own dentist.

First Impressions Matter

A child's memory of children's dentistry will not begin when they walk in the door of the clinic; rather, it will begin when they start asking questions about their first visit. We know that only about 1.5 percent of parents follow our advice and bring in their children as soon as the child cuts their first tooth or turns one-year-old. For the remainder 98 percent, the first foray into children's dentistry only happens when the parent perceives a need for medical attention in the mouth. At this point, the child is typically older, and may be in discomfort. We strongly encourage parents to have a pre-visit conversation with the child, as this is your opportunity to paint a positive picture, get the child truly excited about the idea of seeing their own doctor, and finally create a sense of learning and education within the child. We do ask that parents avoid going into details, as much of what we do needs to be explained in non-threatening language, something we have worked on perfecting.

Staying Calm is Important

During the visit itself, it is critical that you do not demonstrate your own dental anxieties. Children are very good at sensing and then replicating their parent's emotions. If you feel very strongly about the dentist and are affected by anxiety, you should consider allowing the other parent to bring the child in. At the very least, you should discuss things with your dentist, so we know to prepare, just in case. A child who sees their parent calm, collected, and fully trusting the children's dentistry specialists is also going to react the same way. Ironically, the more relaxed the child, the faster we will be done and the happier the visit will be. On the other hand, a crying, upset, or jumpy child can make it harder to diagnose and treat whatever the problem is. We can help your child to stay calm and relaxed so that the appointment goes well.