So I get asked a lot about how I deal with special needs children, the toddlers, or the really nervous child. Most parents think that their child will throw me some curveball that will be difficult to handle. The truth is, most kids are much better behaved at their first dental visits than their parents expect!!
In fact, kids are much easier to handle than most adults (believe me, I run into many adults who gladly tell me how much they despise the dentist!). That's why I chose to go into pediatric dentistry. A scared child is WAY easier to deal with than a scared adult.
We spend a ton of time with your child, explaining everything we do. We use a process called tell, show, do that has been proven to work with many kids. Imagine walking into a foreign country and being told you had to have a filling done on one of your teeth. You walk into the dental office and people are speaking a different language, using tools you have never seen before, and proceeding to work on your teeth without telling you anything. It smells different than you are used to. This is exactly how your child views their first visit. Just like adults, some kids may sit right in the chair and open wide. Others will cooperate with a little coaxing, and yet others will fight until they can't fight anymore.
Now imagine you are at the foreign dental office and a smiling face walks in and they speak English! They explain everything they are going to do in ways that you will understand. You are given a television to watch with one of your favorite shows on and some headphones to block out the noise. You have a terrific experience! We hope that's how your child will feel when they leave our office.
What happens for those children that fight until they can't fight anymore? About 5% of children will do this. We try our hardest, but they are still very nervous and untrusting. With these kids, I like to take one thing and make it a good experience. Get a ride in the chair, get an exam done with the mirror, let them touch and feel all of my instruments, whatever it is, we try to get something done. They pick out their prize and we try again at the next visit. Eventually, almost every child will jump right in the chair and cooperate!