As a pediatric dentist, we understand that there are few visits as important or as impactful on a child, as the very first time they step foot in a pediatric dentist‘s office. First impressions make up a large portion of how we all see the world, and this visit is no exception.
For a child who has a great first experience, they will be lifelong frequent visitors of the dentist’s office, which means they will have great oral health. On the other hand, if we do not create a great memory, there is a chance they will struggle with this for years to come. One of the things we have discovered is that among the people who do not visit the dentist frequently, there is a large group who do not see the dentist because of an experience they had in their childhood.
START OFF WITH A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE
We understand that parents want to make sure their child gets on the path to great oral health, which begins with that first visit to the pediatric dentist. What parents do before, during, and after the visit to the pediatric dentist will play a critical role in how the child responds and remember the first visit.
Thus, it is important to make sure that parents portray a sense of confidence and calm when being with the child at the dental office. The child is already in a strange environment, surrounded by unfamiliar sights and sounds, and looking to the parent for comfort. If they sense the parents is unphased, confident in the dentist’s ability, and completely comfortable, there is a very good chance they will be as well.
On the other hand, if the parent is nervous, the child can tell, the chances are that they will reflect this same behavior, which could make for a far less enjoyable visit.
WE PROVIDE A COMFORTABLE EXPERIENCE
The pediatric dentist visit never begins when patients walk through our doors. Children are far too curious for this. We are trained to answer a million questions, because the more questions a child asks, the more they are learning and unlikely to fear their pediatric dentist. By the same token, we strongly encourage parents to have a conversation with their child at home before bringing them in to see us.
Naturally, the conversation should be age-appropriate and as general as possible. We will be happy to answer more questions in a kid-friendly way when the child is with us at the clinic. We strongly recommend parents use positive language that will encourage the child and get them excited about coming in to see us. There are strategies we can share with the parent on how to do this, and we would be happy to share them if parents wish to go over them in advance.
When you get into the clinic, one of the first things you should do is have a conversation with your child’s dentist, which will allow you to go over goals, have questions answered and share any concerns you may have.