Children’s Dentistry, a Guide to the First Visit With Our Office

Children's Dentistry

In children's dentistry, we believe that the earlier we are able to see a child, the more of a positive effect we can have on their overall oral health and by extension, their life. For this reason, we place much importance on the child having a great first visit, which is their introduction to the world of children's dentistry. In many senses, the first time a child visits a dentist will impact how they perceive dentists for years to come and may even influence their adult oral health and hygiene behaviors. It may seem profound that one visit can have such an impact when you consider that people should be visiting the dentist at least twice a year for the rest of their lives, but data shows that this visit plays a part in how confident a child feels when visiting the dentist and how likely they are to want to return.

Of the 45 percent of American adults who do not visit the dentist frequently, a very large percentage have bad childhood memories of the dentist office, which causes them to avoid going in for needed treatments. Being experts in children's dentistry means we want to work with you to ensure your child has a great experience because so much of it falls on the parents' shoulders. How a child reacts to the dental visits is influenced by how the parent interacts with the child before, during, and after the visit. During the visit, it is very important to remember that this is your child's visit, meaning all your attention should be focused on them. A child senses their parent's emotions, often feeding off them for their own emotional response. What this means is that if you are calm, collected and demonstrate no anxiety, the child will typically do the same, despite being in the dentist chair. If, on the other hand, you show anxiety, there is more than a probable chance your child will imitate your behavior, making the visit much more stressful.

One recommendation from a children's dentistry perspective is to have a conversation with your children prior to bringing them in to see the dentist. Children are naturally curious, so talking through what the procedure is and what we will be doing helps them to appreciate it more and reduces anxiety. We encourage you to use powerful, upbeat language that will get your child excited to come in while leaving any details to us. For example, some parents like to talk to their children about dental cleaning by referring to the magic paste that will make their teeth sparkle. This kind of conversation builds the child's confidence. Once you are in the clinic, you should take a few moments to speak with the dentist. Discuss goals, questions, and concerns in some detail so you and your child's dental health provider are on the same page. Finally, if you suffer from dental anxiety, let your child's dentist know, so we can actively work to help you overcome this as children's dentistry works to make your child's teeth the healthiest they can be.

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