Preparing your child for their dental visit begins in the home. You can help build the foundation of a positive dental experience by explaining that going to the dentist is fun and, more importantly, by not talking negatively about your own past experiences. Parents can unwittingly project their own fears of the dentist to their children if they are not careful. It’s important to remain positive and encouraging during this preparation and also to praise them throughout and after their visit. If a child goes into their dental appointment with a positive outlook, they’re more likely to maintain a positive attitude and open mind throughout their experience in the dental office.
One of our main goals at KidsFirst Dental is to create positive feelings about going to the dentist–we want to make every appointment as easy as possible for your child. We hope to achieve this by taking time to explain things as we go–known as “tell-show-do”–so there are no surprises. We use non-scary terms that they can understand. For example, you won’t hear our staff say the “s-word” (“shot”) for local anesthetic. Instead, we explain that we will give your child’s tooth some “sleepy juice” so their tooth can “go to sleep.” We encourage parents to use this anxiety-reducing terminology as well! Click here for a list of other friendly dental terms.
We have been trained in multiple ways to help children feel comfortable, from the words we use to the use of laughing gas and different methods of sedation dentistry. Together, we will determine the best way to help your child have the best experience possible.
Because our concern is the prevention of dental problems, we recommend that parents bring their children to the dentist early. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child should start seeing the dentist at the appearance of the first tooth or no later than the first birthday.
Very young children are often anxious to be away from their parents. This is normal. Because of this, we have special exam rooms designed specifically so they can sit on your lap during their exam. We call this a knee-to-knee exam and this allows your child to stay close to you while allowing us to make sure that everything looks good in their mouth. During this visit we will discuss growth and development, home care, proper diet, and go over the things that can help prevent future cavities. Despite our best efforts, sometimes a tear or two is shed. Most kids leave with a smile on their face, especially after they get to pick a toy!