The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and our office all recommend that your child visit the dentist by his/her 1st birthday (AAPD.org). Similar to a “well baby check up” at the pediatrician, this visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.
One parent at a time is welcome to come back with their child during all new patient visits and subsequent cleaning visits. For treatment visits (fillings, extractions, etc), Dr. Meggan recommends parents and other caregivers remain in the reception area. Experience has shown that children tend to do better when their attention can be focused in one direction. Dr. Meggan has extensive training in behavior guidance and will work with your child in a way that allows them to understand each step of the visit. Part of the goal is to give children the confidence that they can “do it on their own” and show them that you trust our team. There’s nothing better than seeing a proud child leaving after treatment, eager to tell mom or dad how great they did! In preparation for your child’s visit, we ask that you avoid words like “drill”, “needle”, or anything similar that may scare a child. Dr. Meggan and her team will present things in a more child-friendly manner.
Dr. Meggan has special training to help anxious children feel secure during dental treatment. Having our child friendly office helps, too. All of our team members have chosen to work in a pediatric dental practice because they love children and honor the trust you instill in us to take care of your child.
There are many methods to help children feel comfortable with dental treatment. Dr. Meggan and her team utilize the “Tell-Show-Do” technique which is very effective for children. Coaching, modeling, distraction, and parent participation are other possibilities to give your child confidence in dentistry. By far the most preferred technique is positive approach using praise. Every child does something right during a dental visit and we will always tell them that. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is used during restorative visits, which also helps to calm some children.
Infants and all children under the age of 3 are accompanied by a parent for most visits. Dr. Meggan has an excellent team that is trained to help children overcome anxiety. For this reason, we ask that your child accompanies us through the dental experience alone. You will be amazed at how well your child will do! Please try not to be concerned if your child exhibits some negative behavior. Our job is to help them get through their dental procedures as quickly and pleasantly as possible. Careful and loving coaching will help your child have a positive dental experience. Studies and experience have shown that most children over the age of 3 react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own. We have a child friendly office and most children look forward to coming to see us. If Dr. Meggan has specific recommendations for you to accompany your child on a restorative visit she asks that you be a silent partner to minimize distractions for your child allowing the most safe and productive visit.
Every child asks for their parent, so we anticipate the question. This is best handled with the use of distraction techniques. Treatment is delayed and will take longer if we need to stop every time a child asks for a parent. It is much easier for the child if treatment is completed in a timely manner. When a child asks for their parent, we tell them that mommy or daddy is waiting in the waiting room and will be so proud of them once they are finished. If Dr. Meggan feels parental involvement will help your child, she will ask you to accompany your child into the operatory.
Our primary goal is to deliver safe treatment for your child. Occasionally, a child may require more assertive forms of behavior guidance to protect him or her from injuring themselves. These management techniques include the use of voice control, distraction techniques, protective stabilization or the recommendation of completing the procedures with sedation on a different day.
Dental films are a tool used to see where the naked eye can’t. They are only taken when indicated but as a rule, children require them more frequently than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly and they are prone to more tooth decay than adults. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends radiographic examinations every 6 months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. Children with a lower risk of tooth decay will generally need them once a year. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed.
Dr. Meggan evaluates your child’s growth and development, post injury status, and orthodontic readiness as well as tooth decay. Taking films allows Dr. Meggan to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.
Dr. Meggan has set up her practice to minimize your child’s exposure to radiation. We use digital films, which require much less radiation than traditional films. The risk is negligible. In fact, dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
Lead aprons with thyroid collars are always used when films are taken.