At the first visit, we generally prefer to not separate parent from child, as we want you to have confidence in how we communicate and present the dental environment. We do ask that you remember that it is your PRESENCE that is reassuring to your child. When you speak, the child’s focus will understandably be redirected to you, and away from our dental professionals who are trying to guide your angel through what may seem to be a daunting experience. If at any time, you are uncomfortable with what is happening, just touch us on the arm, or speak to us, and we will immediately direct our attention towards you. We hope that you will marvel with us, as we help your child successfully maneuver through the various aspects of a “first dental visit.”
You will find that our environment is primarily “open bay”… much like a preschool classroom. Children can see what is going on with other children, and they learn to model appropriate behaviors based on what they observe. There are a few rooms where the door can be closed. Some children (e.g. those with autism) need less stimulation, and a few just have to struggle through a visit, albeit always with a parent’s permission.
Our goal is always clear: We want to meet your child where they are at dentally and emotionally, and help move them towards optimal oral health, with a minimum of trauma to their developing psyche. Sometimes that means slowing down and helping them adjust to the dental environment via multiple “easy visits” or simply waiting 6 months as we work on preventive strategies. Other times that means addressing urgent dental needs through temporary restorations requiring no local anesthesia, or scheduling the child for definitive restorations at the hospital… where everything is accomplished in one visit, and the child does not remember much nor associate the experience with the dental clinic.
Most often, if your child is able to accomplish radiographs in the clinic setting, we will be able to schedule them for restorative appointments, always beginning with the most urgent dental needs. This allows us to “take a break” if your child needs to before all recommended treatment is completed.
Each visit ends with a balloon and a sticker, and often a “goody bag” filled with gifts to help them work towards a “cavity-free” checkup.