Our office, as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends that your child visit the dentist by his/her 1st birthday. The purpose of the “First Visit” is to provide you with a wealth of information to help you care for your child’s teeth now and develop good oral habits for the future. The most important part of the visit is getting to know and becoming comfortable with the doctor and his staff. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. During the initial visit, our staff and Dr. Higham will review your child’s medical history and discuss your child’s daily dietary and oral hygiene routines. We love children and want them to have a fun, exciting, and educational experience. We want children of all ages to enjoy coming to the dentist.
We encourage you to tell your child about their “First Dental Visit.” We recommend reading books that will help explain to your child what he or she should expect at their first dental visit. Please tell him/her that it will be fun and exciting. If you are faced with questions from your child about upcoming dental visits, we offer the following suggestions.
Answer honestly. The best and honest answer is often, “I’m not sure what will be done. When we see Dr. Higham, let’s ask him.” Your child may become confused or apprehensive when given more information than he/she can understand. It is also advisable to avoid phrases like, “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt.” A child may not have been worrying. More importantly, what will be done may in fact be somewhat uncomfortable. Your child may lose trust if what was promised is not fulfilled. Even if your child expresses worry, do not try to deny or cover up the worry. Let your child know its OK to worry and make sure he/she tells the doctor about it.
During the initial examination as well as for future appointments, we encourage parents to be a part of their child’s dental experience and to accompany them for all treatment visits. We do ask that you be a silent observer and allow your child to establish a rapport with our staff through the dental experience. Please do not answer those questions the doctor has directed toward your child. Some of the questions are merely the dentist’s efforts to establish communication with your child. Our goal is to gain your child’s confidence and overcome apprehension. It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle”, “shot”, “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.
When a child has finished a visit, avoid saying, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Rather, stress how proud you are that your child tried to help the dentist. Remember, accentuate the positive.
We appreciate your help in making your child’s dental visit a very positive experience. We do ask that for the safety and privacy of all patients, other children who are not being treated should remain in the reception room with a supervising adult.