The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the first dental visit be no later than your child’s 1st birthday. A child’s preparation for a dental visit begins long before you step into the office. Here are a few simple tips to help you, and your child, have a positive experience and feel comfortable going to the dentist for a lifetime.
We encourage parents to schedule appointments in the morning for children five and under. It’s important that your child is well rested for the appointment to minimize anxieties and allow your child to have a relaxed experience.
Let your child know in advance about their dental visit and keep it upbeat and positive. Explain that a doctor friend will help clean and get their teeth bright and shiny. Talk to him/her about fun things, for example you can say, “Not only will the doc make your teeth shine, but he will also count and take pictures of them!”
A visit to the dentist should be viewed as something normal, and not something that requires special bravery. Avoid using a dental visit as a threat.
Make sure you don’t use any negative words about dental treatment. Comments such as, “the doctor won’t hurt you”, need to be avoided, since such a thought probably never crossed your child‘s mind. Do not use terms such as “pull”, “shot”, “drill” etc. Our office staff is specially trained to avoid all of those terms to make sure your child feels comfortable, safe and confident during the dental procedure.
We know sometimes it’s difficult for parents to cope with the fact that their young child will be treated in a dental office, but it’s important to avoid transferring your anxiety to your child. Try to “be cool” and remember that Dr Stepanski and his staff have been specially trained to treat young children. Also remember that check-ups and initial visits usually do not require any complex or difficult procedures.
Parents are welcome to be present during the examination. The parent should act as a passive observer and be supportive of the doctor and his team. A parent's behavior during the appointment is important and can affect the way your child reacts to current and future dental visits. Make sure you follow the doctor's advice during the procedure.