Should I Worry About My Child’s First Dental Appointment?
Dental visits for young children can be stressful for the parents especially if they have not had pleasant dental experience themselves. This apprehension can go multifold if there are any suspected cavities or specific concerns.
As a pediatric dentist, we are experienced and trained with techniques that help us to introduce dentistry and dental appointments to your child in an acceptable and understandable manner. The basic definition of pediatric dentistry as given by American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry emphasizes on instilling positive dental attitude for a lifetime.
The first visit usually starts from the waiting area, walking you through the dental office, introducing our dental toys and then gently taking the child to the “Big Chair”. The first checkup simply involves counting of teeth with a mirror. Basic behavior management principle of TSD (Tell, Show, Do) is used in order to gain the confidence of the child.
Once the child is comfortable, the first procedure that’s introduced based on the age of the child and coping ability is professional cleaning. This involves use of hand tools and polish with either manual or electronic brush while they lay comfortably and watch their favorite show on the overhead TV.
This concludes the first appointment. Further appointments are then assessed based on the clinical or radiographic assessment if X-rays were needed to be done.
Once counting, cleaning and fluoride application are done, the child is rewarded for good behavior, attentive listening and effective following of instructions. In case where there are any impending treatments, the child is given brief up on what to expect in his or her “next visit”. This helps them come better prepared for their next appointment.
Parents are given details about the entire treatment if there is any. They are also educated on how to develop good oral hygiene and diet at home.
The whole objective is that child should have pleasant experience, parents should return back completely clear with information regarding their concerns, treatment needs, cost estimates, phased out approaches and procedure details.
Anxiety to unknown is normal. We as a pediatric team strive hard to make your first visit such that you leave out and come back “all-knowing”!