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The Elephant in the Room

Spring Valley Dental Group Blog, How to set your child up for a successful dental visit. The elephant in the room. Written by Lindsey Stanton a registered dental hygienist in O'Fallon, IL

Let’s start by saying, we love your kiddos. Sometimes we first see your babies in a car seat when you’re coming in for a dental appointment or you’re just stopping by. Other times we see them in the office when they get their first tooth or when they bump those precious first teeth after tripping on their brother or sister or the dog. And sometimes we see them at their first scheduled dental appointment.

If we’re lucky, we get to watch them grow and mature into adulthood through their visits. We hear all about activities, vacations, boyfriends and girlfriends, new jobs, drivers license, college applications and weddings. We love your kids!

We also love all of you! We appreciate the trust you have in us. You know and trust, we have your best interests at heart. We will treat you with respect and have your health as our number one priority during your visit. We know this because you come to see us year after year and recommend us to your friends and family, you even liked us on Facebook!

Now we need to address the Elephant in the Room.

When your babies have problems in their mouth and have need for us to fix those problems, they will, often times, come to our office having been “prepared” for what to expect.

For many people, having dental work is not their idea of fun. Thinking your child has to go through something that you dread makes it even worse.

Very loving parents will often let their kids know what they think the appointment will be like based on their own experiences. “It shouldn’t HURT that much”, or,” The SHOT is the worst part”. The only words your child heard was HURT or SHOT. Some will even blame the child for needing the filling at all. “If you would’ve done (fill in the blank) … you wouldn’t have to go through this”. While all of these things may have truth to them, they often set off a fear response that causes your kid to be apprehensive and become distrusting and fearful of us.

Instead of preparing them for what you think will happen, just let them know that you trust us and that we will help fix their problems. Sometimes well-intentioned parents will accompany their child to the back to give moral support to their kiddo during their appointment. While having a parent with their kid might quell some anxiety, occasionally it will have the opposite effect. Kids are intuitive. They are always watching, listening and learning. If they see you cringe, or hear your comments about needles, receive that “reassuring” squeeze right before the injection or even when they feel a gentle caress on their leg, they pick up on it and prepare for the worst!

Be aware that these are cues they receive on how to act and react to their environment.

The bottom line is that we are here to help. We will make the experience as positive as possible. Please don’t be the elephant in the room. We love your kids and desperately want them to love us back.

Lindsey Stanton received her RDH degree in 2005 and has worked for Spring Valley Dental Group, in O'Fallon, IL since 2013.

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