A child’s first dental appointment is a new and unique experience: a new environment with new people requiring a special kind of cooperation.
As any parent knows, there are all sorts of child personalities and temperments. Some children cooperate for dental treatment, some do not. You should not be surprised or embarrassed if your child does not cooperate in the dental office. The pediatric dentist and staff are experienced in coping with this behavior. During treatment some children squirm and may become difficult to control. This behavior is not unique to the dental office. Many toddlers and pre-schoolers avoid Santa Claus at the mall or even cry once the baby-sitter arrives. We often utilize a “knee to knee” position, pictured below, to help our littlest patients feel more secure.
We suggest the following guidelines to improve chances of a positive outcome:
The more matter-of-fact parents approach a trip to the dentist, the less likely your child will have anxiety.
- Tell your child about the appointment a half-hour before they leave and treat it like it’s a visit to the grocery store
- Inform your child that EVERYONE with good teeth goes to the dentist
- NEVER express any of your own personal anxieties about dental care to your child
- Allow us to prepare your child. When age appropriate, we will explain to your child what we will be doing during the visit and guide them through the appointment.
- Be supportive of our practice’s terminology. When preparing your child for a dental visit, do not use words that will frighten them like “needle” or “shot” Please support us by NOT USING negative words that are often used for dental care. Our intention is not to “fool” your child – it is to create an experience that is positive.
|DON’T USE||OUR EQUIVALENT|
|Needle or Shot.||Sleepy Juice|
|Drill On Tooth||Clean A Tooth|
|Pull Or Yank Tooth.||Wiggle A Tooth Out|
|Decay, Cavity||Sugar Bug|
|Tooth Cleaning||Tickle Teeth|
|Rubber Dam||Rain Coat|
|Gas/ Nitrous Oxide.||Happy Air|
It is normal for some children to attempt to avoid new experiences. So, as a parent, do not overreact – stay cool. A parent who overreacts admits to their child that their fears are justified.
Please be a SILENT observer – support your child with touches.
- This allows us to maintain communication with your child
- Children will normally listen to their parents instead of us and may not hear our guidance
- You might give incorrect or misleading information
In rare instances it may be necessary to ask parents to leave the treatment room.
- Many children will try to control the situation, when the doctor needs to be in charge
- “Acting out” is normal, but unacceptable during treatment
Most importantly, please communicate with us. Inform us of any incident or condition that might be helpful in understanding your child’s behavior. Let us know how your child is feeling that day. A child’s emotional behavior can be significantly affected by an illness, a divorce, a death in the family, problems in school, and previous medical/dental experiences.
We encourage parents and caregivers to review the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s guidelines on Behavior Guidance for the Pediatric Dental Patient at www.aapd.org in order to become familiar with commonly used pediatric behavior management techniques.
Our staff is well trained and experienced in helping your child have a successful appointment. Our goal is to make your child a good patient for life!