Role of Parents and Siblings during Dental Treatment
Every child is unique, and as such each child’s dental care presents its own special needs. Often times your presence in the treatment room is a helpful addition in creating a positive dental experience for your child. Similarly, often times a sibling who accompanies the patient in the treatment room can benefit from watching his or her brother or sister have a great time at Little Sprouts Dental. There are many occasions however when a well-meaning parent, grandparent, caregiver, or sibling can create distractions that negatively impact the patient’s experience or the dental team’s delivery of care. We at Little Sprouts Dental encourage parents to take an active role in your child’s dental health. Your child’s great experience at the dentist starts with you! It is expected that you will do your best to speak in a positive manner to your child about his or her dental visit, and that you will avoid scary words and imagery such as “shot” and “pain” and “pull your tooth out,” etc…the list goes on! We at Little Sprouts Dental are trained to speak with your child in appropriate ways that will help avoid anxiety while explaining what is about to happen. If you personally suffer from dental anxiety, it is imperative that you do not transfer this anxiety to your child. Asking your child over and over again “are you okay?” or “did they hurt you?” during treatment creates an expectation in your child that it should be difficult or should hurt—neither of which are true and do nothing but create anxiety. Generally, parents who chose to accompany their child in the treatment room for procedures are asked to be “silent observers” during dental treatment. Other times, parents may be asked to actively participate in their child’s behavior management. Each experience will be tailored to your child’s specific needs and best interests. Our goal at Little Sprouts Dental is to establish a relationship of trust with both you and your child.
It is required that a parent or legal guardian accompany the child to all appointments, unless you have made prior arrangements with our office for another responsible adult to accompany your child; in such a case we must still be able to reach you immediately to discuss any changes in treatment or complications that may arise, and to discuss post-operative instructions with you personally.
Siblings should be encouraged to help create a good experience for the patient also. Siblings should not taunt the patient or tell scary tales. For more involved procedures, it is recommended (and may be required depending on the situation) that siblings who may present a distraction in the treatment room be instead accompanied by a parent/guardian in the reception area where books, activities, and movies are available—or that alternative care arrangements have been made.