A parent or legal guardian must accompany the child for the child’s initial visit. If someone other than the parent brings the child for subsequent treatment, we require a signed consent form for each visit.
As parents, our best intentions can sometimes create problematic visits to the dentist. We want to assure our children that they will be fine and have a good experience at the dentist. Unfortunately, some of the statements we say to comfort or reassure them can actually place fear into the minds of our children. I’ve heard well-meaning moms or dads say, “If you’re good it won’t hurt,” “Don’t worry, they won’t hurt you”, or bribe them into going. It is best not to use the words “pain, hurt or shot” at all. Only say positive things!
Many children feel more comfortable and secure having a parent or sibling in the treatment room. You can be most helpful by being a silent partner, allowing the child to cooperate best with the dental professional’s directions. The parent should be a casual observer and only participate in the conversation when asked. Parents often try to speak over the doctor’s requests, creating stress for the child. The child can only listen to one person at a time. Dental professionals are trained to use specific terminology and care with children and have experience in dealing with dental fear. If a parent has dental anxiety, it is best not to relay that to the child, as children can easily pick up on your discomfort and fears about dentistry. After the initial visit, the child may do better in “one on one” with the dentist. If you have concerns, it is a good idea to discuss this issue with the dentist before your child’s visit.