With pediatric dentistry, we know each time your child visits us is another opportunity to make a great impression and keep them coming back for years to come. First impressions are critical to how we see the world, even more so when it comes to forming long-term likes or dislikes. The same is very much true for children. The first impression a child gets of pediatric dentistry will likely stay with them for most of their life. Naturally, this means we have an outstanding opportunity to ensure a child walks into the pediatric dentist clinic and walks out with a very good memory. On the other hand, if they do not have a good memory, it could prevent this child from coming back for much of their adult life. A recent study found that of the 45 percent of people who do not visit the dentist on a regular basis, a large portion can relate back to a childhood visit that was not favorable. So one of our goals is to ensure that we give the child a great experience. To do this, we need the help of you, the parent. The visit is often defined in how the child interacts with you before, during, and after the visit.
During their first pediatric dentistry appointment, a child is will naturally have some level of nervousness. Coming to a strange medical facility, lots of strange sounds and smells, and a subconscious fear of the dentist are all going to play a role in their response. To counter this, they are going to look to you for comfort and support. Children are very good at reading and imitating their parent’s emotions. So if they perceive you to be calm, composed, and very much trusting of the dentist, they will do the same. This is exactly what we need. On the other hand, if you have dental anxiety and it shows, they could manifest the same fears, which would make the visit less pleasant.
One thing pediatric dentistry does extremely well is deal with children’s natural curiosity. Children have a lot of questions, and the more they ask, the happier we are to answer because it means they are learning. At the same time, we know they will have many questions for you at home before you bring them in. We strongly recommend you have a conversation with your child before bringing them in. It doesn’t have to be long and definitely should be age-appropriate, but sharing with your child what pediatric dentistry does, what that first visit is all about, and what to expect will help them be more prepared. Using positive language, you can actually make your child excited to come in. Once you are in the clinic, you should spend some time with your child’s dentist, going over questions, concerns, and goals. This will put you on the same page as us and ensure that we will work together to give your child the great care and experience they need.