For some children and parents, the first visit to the dentist can be a stressful situation. There are ways that the dentist can make the occasion enjoyable for everyone involved. Establishing trust between the child and the doctor is extremely important because this relationship sets a positive tone for the rest of your child’s life.
Often, parents are more apprehensive than the children, which is perfectly normal. Having said this, children can sense their parents’ discomfort. This is the reason why we focus on not only the child’s anxiety level but also on the comfort level of our parents.
The parent’s presence in the treatment area, although intended to provide comfort to the child, may cause some anxiety especially when the parent is anxious. For this reason, we will assess whether or not it is in your child’s best interest for you to be a part of the appointment. This decision is always made as a team (parent, child, and doctor).
The “show-tell-do” method is based on showing the patient what he or she already knows and then tying it in with something new: first the familiar, and then the unfamiliar. “This is your toothbrush . . . and this is my toothbrush,” or “Here is your mirror and this is my mirror.” In this way, all the dental paraphernalia can be introduced without causing alarm or making your child anxious.
The extra effort to create an exciting environment makes a big difference, especially in the case of a highly apprehensive family. By bringing your child to a pediatric dentist as early as age one, you can ensure the timely prevention of dental disease and at the same time provide your child with an upbeat experience that can last a lifetime.