top of page
drbethlovesbabies.jpg
Big kids

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." 

- Frederick Douglas

Big Kids (3-12 years old): 
First Dental Visit with Dr. Beth

For big kids, it's most likely that their visit to our office won't be their first experience at this dentist. This can be a good or a bad thing, and it is entirely dependent on what your child's experience has been thus far with their oral health and with their previous provider. Regardless of your child's prior experience, our goal does not change: we want your child to have their happiest and healthiest smile possible, and we want them to have a positive relationship with the dentist to help them maintain their smile's health. Pending that history, we will customize their first encounter with us to cater to whatever needs they may have. 

Review History & Pre-Visit Preparation

We strongly encourage parents to share as much about their child's prior dental experiences prior to their first visit; whether this is through a phone call with Dr. Beth, text, or email, the more information you can give us pre-operatively, the better we will be able to connect with and then serve your child.

In the ideal situation where your child has only had positive experiences at the dentist, this can be a very easy transition to someone new and a new office. But in some cases, a child may have already had a challenging appointment, dental pain or trauma, or other negative experiences that will require that we exercise patience and understanding with this transition. Again, each child is very different; and Dr. Beth has spent countless hours studying and read innumerable books on childhood psychology to equip her with the healthiest philosophy and most advanced techniques to supporting your child in their dental visit. 

We can't emphasize enough that if your child has recently had a negative experience at a dental office, do not wait to bring them in for their next visit. Waiting a long time can only add to any anxieties they may already be harboring, but having the opportunity to have an easy, no treatment appointment can help quickly transform their perception of the dentist and start moving in the direction of a positive relationship.

Also, it is CRITICALLY important that a parent be cognizant of how they talk about the dentist, especially if they have a history of dental anxiety or dental trauma. Children are very perceptive and often adopt their parents' mood, sentiment, fears, etc. So if you are a parent who has had a negative experience at the dentist, one of the best gifts you can give your child is an opportunity to have a different relationship with their oral healthcare team, and that starts with your conversations at home before their visit. 

Introduction to Dr. Beth & Tour the Office

Each dental office has its own unique sets of sounds, smells, tools, rooms, etc. that can be a lot to absorb. Starting with an office tour with Dr. Beth can help us build rapport and allows us to show the child that these sounds and smells can be cool and funny and not scary or cause for concern. Also, most every child appreciates the "Treasure Chest" part of the tour where they can pick a toy to play with during their visit and also take home, pending good cooperation. 

Parent Demonstration & Child Experimentation 

Oftentimes, it can be helpful after Dr. Beth explains what is next to have the parent demonstrate what we are going to do. This can be as simple as sitting in the chair and letting Dr. Beth count your teeth, using the air/water syringe (ie. the "squirt gun & tooth blowdryer"), and letting me take photos. Pending the child's interest, we can have them point on gloves and be Dr. Beth's "dental assistant" while looking in the parent's mouth. After the child realizes this is not a concern and in fact can be quite fun, it can make it much easier to try it themselves. 

 

It is also important to note that parent(s) are always allowed and encouraged to stay with their child throughout their entire dental appointments. We do not use restraints nor other forceful compliant behavior techniques that can be traumatic to both the child and the parent. Instead, we devote extra time and use positive reinforcement techniques to complete any of the more challenging dental procedures a child may need. But of course, our primary goal is to always prevent the need for any dental "work" in the first place, and instead keep the child clean and healthy from the start and for a lifetime. 

Exam & More (If Child Will Allow) 

There is a LOT that Dr. Beth is learning and observing during this first visit well before she ever has the patient lean back to look in their mouth. Discussing a detailed history, observing if the child is breathing through their nose or mouth, looking for dark circles under their eyes or chapped lips or other skin conditions, spacing or crowding in the baby teeth, how the child tries to talk and move their tongue, how they swallow a sip of water. All of these behaviors and more demonstrate a child's myofunctional balance, stage of dental eruption, sleep patterns and/or breathing compromises, etc. When we are leaning the patient back, whether that is in the parent's lap or in the dental chair, it takes Dr. Beth not too much time to collect the additional information she needs to have accurate baseline data on your child. 

Pending how the child handles the exam and their overall disposition with this first visit, we can gage whether we can do more, or should stop at that point. If the child allows (and the parent permits), Dr. Beth will evaluate and complete the following:

  • Assessment of growth and development and dental eruption

  • Sleep, airway, and breathing health analysis

  • Intra- and extra-oral exam of hard and soft tissues

  • TMJ functional exam

  • Clinical photos

  • Diagnostic casts via a "Smile Health Scan"

  • X-rays as needed 

  • Oral hygiene instructions

  • Nutritional counseling 

Review Next Steps & Reward Great Behavior

At the end of the visit, we always have plenty of time to review any questions and to clarify the parent(s)' or child's "homework" prior to the next visit. And of course, each child gets to visit our "Treasure Chest" to pick a toy as a reward for such outstanding behavior! That positive reinforcement is important and a key component to them learning that.

Shaded Background

Got questions? Feel free to email Dr. Beth directly at beth@doradodentalwellness.com. Otherwise, book your child's first visit below:

Book an Appointment Now

bottom of page