Your First Visit
Pediatric dentistry is all about creating an environment where kids are happy and not intimidated. It’s about patience and understanding. It’s about treating the child first and the teeth second. We will treat your child the same way we would treat our own children.
Our #1 goal is for your child to have a good experience. We believe that any dental treatment can be accomplished without fear or tears. We first will work to make your child comfortable in the dental setting and will address any concerns or worries your child may have. We will explain things to your child in a fashion that’s appropriate for their age without using scary sounding words. Only after your child is comfortable will we worry about the teeth.
We want your child to leave our office happy. Sometimes that may mean we don’t get everything done that we intended to get done. The most important thing is that your child leaves feeling accomplished, happy, and ready to come back to the dentist. If there’s any way we can avoid it, we will not push your child just to get a procedure done.
Parents are encouraged to come back for the first appointment. This is a good time to explore the office and get to know Dr. Thom and the staff.
If your child is an infant, Dr. Thom will take a brief look and spend time talking to you about the best way to take care of your child’s teeth. This is a very simple and easy appointment. For all children we will review oral hygiene, diet, health history, and any age specific items relating to your child’s oral health.
As your child is ready, he or she will receive a cleaning, an exam, and possibly a Fluoride treatment and radiographs. Some children may not be ready for a cleaning and exam on their first visit. They may simply come in for a chance to look around, sit in a dental chair, and then pick out a prize – and that’s all ok! The more your child is at our office, the more comfortable he or she will be and the sooner they’ll want to have their teeth sparkled and counted! We will determine your child’s comfort level and will use that to determine what we’ll do that day. Many children won’t cooperate for a full cleaning and exam until around the age of 3, and most children won’t be ready for cavity detecting x-rays until the age of 4 or older. Regardless, there is still significant value in your child seeing the pediatric dentist by the time he or she is 1 year old or within 6 months of the first baby tooth coming in.
Word choice, word choice, word choice! That’s one of the most important concepts relating to your child’s dental experience. When referring to the dentist, please do not use any scary sounding words. Please make sure that there’re no relatives or friends who will use scary sounding words! Word choice is critical to the success of your child’s visit. It’s all about setting the expectation that there is nothing to be concerned about. If the child is not afraid when they first come to us, we can typically create an excellent experience for them. Also, if you yourself dislike the dentist, your child will pick up on that. If you act nervous or anxious, your child will too. Your child can read you well, so even if you’re nervous for your child, try to appear excited and upbeat about your child’s appointment!
Yes! Parents can definitely be back for first visits and cleanings. Or, if you prefer, you can relax in the waiting room and enjoy a coffee! Usually it’s ok for parents to accompany their child for treatment visits like a filling or an extraction; other times it may be better if the parent is not back with the child. We’ve all seen kids who behave great for their teachers at school without their parents, but as soon as the parents come around they start misbehaving. You’ve also seen kids that will behave well for one parent but not so well for the other parent. Every child and parent is different, so you and Dr. Thom will work together to help figure out what scenario works to make sure your child has the best experience possible.