Children – First Visit
Kids visits info
Please read this before bringing your child here!!!
We are born with only two fears - of falling, and loud noises - all other fears in life are learned, including fear of dental treatment!
Children are NOT naturally afraid of dental visits - they are only ever nervous if they have been 'pre-frightened' by parents or peers.
Here are some essential tips about how to manage your child's appointment with a dentist:
- NEVER mention the words 'pain', 'drill', 'needle, 'hurt' etc. - all this does is make a child concerned. They all have super active imaginations, and just mentioning these words can create monsters in their minds.
- NEVER discuss your own fears or nervousness about visits in front of a child - they pick up on this very strongly.
- Just think about it - how can you reassure a child about a visit if you say things like:
'I hate the dentist', 'I hate going to the dentist', 'I don't like needles/drills', 'It wont be too bad' etc.
- Imagine what they think after hearing you say that. If you say 'Don't worry, it wont hurt', all that happens is they start worrying about being hurt!
DON'T EVER USE ANY NEGATIVE TERMS OR LANGUAGE WHEN REFERRING TO DENTAL VISITS
We thoroughly explain each of our procedures to children in terms they can understand, that often make it sound like fun (you may scoff, but it is true!) before we do anything. We use a 'Show, Tell, Do' method so there are no surprises.
PLEASE AVOID DESCRIBING ANY PROCEDURES TO THEM IN ADVANCE - YOU MAY JUST END UP FRIGHTENING THEM UNNECESSARILY!
If you have not been a patient here yourself, you do not know that we are different to a lot of other practices you may have experienced in the past - your own previous negative experiences will not recur here!
The less you say to them the better.
Bring your child with you when you come in for your regular check-ups (NOT TREATMENT!). You don't need special appointments for young kids for check ups - it's best to do it as a family thing. We give them a ride in the chair and they love it. The child sees you having things done, and when it's their turn, it's no big deal. A gradual introduction to the dentist makes all the difference. You should be setting a good example anyway! First visits can be from 1 or 2 years of age.
Bring your child REGULARLY - it is very easy for your child, you, and us to treat problems when they are at an early stage. If you are regular we will find things when they are small and easily fixed without any trauma, or better still help you avoid having anything done at all if we can prevent a problem.
Make the visit as matter of fact as you can (eg 'We're going to visit the dentist who is a friend of ours, and he is going to see how
- lovely your teeth are
- count your teeth
- see how beautifully you brush your teeth, etc.
Don't fuss too much, or 'over prepare' them - keep it simple and brief
If they kick up a fuss at the first visit, and wont go into the chair, that's fine - it's important not to force them in any way. We just say thanks for coming, nice to meet you, and ask them if they could show us their teeth next time they come (they usually do!). If they haven't agreed to sit in the chair within 2 minutes or so, in our experience it is not worth persevering that day - try again later.
Schedule visits in the morning, when they are fresh and in a good mood, not after school when they may be tired and just want to go home.
Parents in the clinic should ideally be casual observers and only participate in the conversation when necessary. We have had many well meaning parents drop some real clangers, resulting in the child suddenly becoming uncooperative or frightened, with a result that they ended up needing to see a paediatric specialist for treatment under general anaesthesia. Your child can only listen to one person at a time. Dental professionals have more experience in these situations than do most parents, so please trust us to do our job!
If a child can have 2 or 3 visits with us without treatment, even if they are apprehensive at first, they generally become comfortable
We are generally VERY RELUCTANT to do treatment for a child at the first vist, even if they seem co-operative.
It is very good for their long term relationship with dentistry to have the first visit (or even 2 or 3 if necessary) be a simple, non threatening, fun experience.
If they have their first vist that is completely non-traumatic, then it is generally very easy to do treatment for them at subsequent visits without causing them any grief.
Terms we use about treatment when talking to kids:
We refer to our handpieces (the drills) as:
'Whistling Willie' and 'Buzzing Bertie', our special toothbrushes used to clean germs out of teeth
The suction device is:
'Mr Slurpy', which is like a mini vacuum cleaner for your teeth
The cotton rolls are:
Little Pillows for your teeth
The anaesthetic injections are:
Sleepy juice we put next to your tooth to make your tooth sleepy
We never lie to kids - we tell them what to expect. We often do small fillings without anaesthetic - we warn the child the tooth may feel a little cold, like an iceblock on the tooth, when we clean the germs off with Whistling Willie. They expect to feel cold, and we ask them to put their hand up when it feels too cold for them - then we stop. Most kids can have ordinary fillings done this way without anaesthetic, with little trouble.
If there is a lot of work to do, or we are not confident a child will be co-operative we will refer you to a childrens dental specialist. We don't want to take any risks of causing any trauma to a young child that might put them off dentistry.
A lifetime of dental health depends very much on establishing good relationships with the dental team, and good early experiences in the dental office.