Your child’s first visit to our dental office should be fun and educational. Good habits start early and early exposure to a positive dental experience will help unfold a lifetime of oral health!
We usually schedule their first visit at Age 3, unless there is an emergency or suspicion of early childhood cavities. We encourage mom or dad to be present with their child during their entire visit. We love to have any sibling “go first” as a good example!
Every Parent is nervous about how their child will behave at his/her first dental visit. Our goal is for all our new patients to have a FUN, EXCITING, INTERESTING and EDUCATIONAL visit. We are committed to ensuring the most positive experience for your child. We teach you and your child how to best care for their teeth, advise on eating habits, explain how cavities are formed and answer any specific questions you may have. All information is provided in an age appropriate manner to help nurture and encourage your child.
We look forward to partnering with you to build a lifetime of good dental habits for your children. This is your child’s first visit to our office…we want it to be a great one!! Our goal is to build positive experiences to ensure they enjoy coming to the dentist.
Here are a few helpful tips:
- BE POSITIVE
Don’t let your child know of any anxiety YOU may have about dental visits. Don’t bribe your child or threaten a dental visit as punishment.
- SET A GOOD EXAMPLE AT HOME
Children imitate their role models…YOU! Practice good dental habits at home. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Beware of frequent snacking. And visit your dentist on a regular basis. Talking to your children about how you go see your dentist often gets them excited about visiting “THEIR” dentist.
- MAKE THE FIRST VISIT AN ADVENTURE
If you’re excited about your child’s dental visit, (s)he will be excited too!
Visit our website, www.willowdailedentistry.com, and check out the fun links to games and child friendly sites. Read books with your child that describes a first dental visit (Sesame Street, Arthur). Come to our office early on the day of your child’s appointment and enjoy our Highlights magazine, coloring books and first visit video.
- DON‘ T OVER EXPLAIN
Children often ask what is going to happen at the dental appointment. Don’t purposely mislead your child. At the same time, don’t give your child more information than (s)he is able to understand.
By all means avoid using words like ‘hurt’, ‘drill’, ‘x-rays’ or ‘shot’. You will find that we use only child friendly words in describing the various instruments and procedures your child will experience in our office. Avoid comments that may appear to be reassuring like ‘Don’t worry, the doctor won’t hurt you.’ Such comments actually make your child more anxious rather than less. After all, your child knows that when anticipated experiences are really fun, you never say that.
- SHOW OFF YOUR OWN TEETH
There is nothing wrong with letting your child examine your teeth. Your child can practice counting by counting your teeth. If you have had a cavity, you can ask your child to find the tooth that needed to be fixed. You can tell positive stories about the dentist by using your teeth as a guide.
- WE WELCOME PARENTS IN THE BACK, BUT BE PREPARED TO ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO GO IN TO THE TREATMENT AREA ALONE
We have deliberately set aside sufficient time for your child to experience a well planned, pleasant introductory dental visit. We understand that you may wish to accompany your child and share his/her first dental experience. We always invite you to come in for your child’s visit. Sometimes, it can be difficult to gain a child’s attention when (s)he is distracted by parents and siblings. We try to keep our focus at all times on your child, and parental presence can occasionally undermine the communication and rapport that we are trying to establish with your child. We may, however, ask you to be a ‘silent partner’ and stand by quietly in order to give our hygienist an opportunity to establish communication and trust directly with your child. If you choose to stay in the waiting area, at the end of the appointment we will come get you, discuss with you what we have found and answer any questions you may have.
- COPING WITH BEHAVIOR OF CHILDREN
A first dental visit can be a challenging new experience for a young child. Children frequently fear the unknown, and sometimes exhibit “avoidance behavior” in the form of squirming or crying. Parents should not be surprised or embarrassed if their child does not initially cooperate in the dental office. If allowed the opportunity, children usually take great pride in overcoming their fears, and most of our patients who might have cried initially leave with a big smile on their faces!
Your Child’s Dental Appointments
Your child’s dental care is very important to us. We are excited to make their visit a positive experience. The following information will help make for a happier and pleasant appointment for all involved:
1. Treatment must start on schedule. A late arrival may necessitate rescheduling. To assist in a positive experience, we encourage morning appointments when children have a better attention span and are fresh.
2. If you cannot keep your appointment, please call us to cancel at least the day before the appointment. This courtesy will enable us to place another patient in your appointment time.
3. Please don’t spend a lot of time preparing your child for the dental visit. Treat their visit as an every day occurrence, like going to the store. Teasing or telling scary stories about dental visits must be avoided. Once in the treatment room, the treatment team will explain the procedure in order to put your child at ease.
4. Bull City Smiles allows one parent in each dental treatment room and we have placed chair there for your comfort. However, having a parent in the dental treatment room is not always in the best interest of the child, parent, or dental personnel. Sometimes if the parent is present, there is no “transfer of authority and trust” to the dental treatment team; communication and management are usually more difficult. Often, parents are not able to understand and deal with the emotional aspects or procedures that take place during treatment (administration of anesthesia, tooth extraction, bleeding, etc.) and react inappropriately (say the wrong things to the child, ask questions that upset the child, show the child that they are scared, become emotional themselves, etc.), thereby making the treatment more difficult for everyone involved. For the reasons stated, parents may be asked not to remain in the room while dental treatment takes place if we think it is in the best interest of your child.
5. Before entering the treatment room, children should be encouraged to go to the bathroom. This will avoid potential “accidents” in the dental chair.
6. Upon completion of treatment, a member of the treatment team will explain what was done and answer any questions and you will be welcomed to speak with the dentist.
7. After the visit, your child must be watched closely to protect him/her from self-injury. Pay particular attention to lip and cheek chewing due to numbness from the local anesthetic.