The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and our office recommend that your child visit the dentist around the time of his/her 1st birthday. A visit this young does not ordinarily result in any significant findings, but rather allows us to establish a relationship with you (the parents) and help to foster a "Dental Home." Foundations laid early in life help to lead to positive, healthy dental habits and relationships in the future.
However, if your child is coming to our office for the first time a bit later, you can help make the first visit enjoyable and positive. Your child should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and his staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. Please discuss the positive aspects of dentistry with your child. One way to convey good feelings to your child about dental visits is to remind them that going to the dentist is a sign that they are growing up. The less to-do concerning the visit, the better.
It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill or hurt. The office makes a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child. Please do not tell your child that the "dentist will not hurt you" as this may never have entered his/her mind. Instead, you may wish to assure your child that the dentist and his helpers will be gentle and friendly.
If your child is three years old or older, we ask that you allow them to accompany our staff, by themselves, through the dental experience. We are all highly experienced in helping children overcome anxiety. Separation anxiety is not uncommon in children, so please try not to be concerned if your child exhibits some negative behavior. This is normal and will soon diminish. Studies and experience have shown that most children over the age of 3 react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own and in an environment designed especially for children. Our purpose is to gain your child's confidence and overcome apprehension.