If you're still concerned about leaving your child alone or if your child has special needs, you may want to consider a pediatric dentist, or pedodontist. Pediatric dentists have advanced training specific to meeting the unique dental needs of children, so you can feel confident that you're leaving your child in excellent hands.
The First Timer
It's recommended that children have their first dental visit by the age of 1. As the new sights and sounds of the dental office can be intimidating for young children, many dentists will let parents accompany their child into the operatory. During the initial visit, your dentist may let your toddler sit on your lap, or next to you, in the dental chair to help put him or her at ease. Some offices allow the parents of older children in the dental operatory during the first visit to a new dentist to familiarize themselves with their surroundings, but may ask them to remain in the waiting room from that point forward.
How you react to your child's dental exam can help or hinder their experience. If you are allowed in the dental operatory, be aware of your emotions and reactions. Remaining positive will encourage your child to do the same, while a negative reaction may create unnecessary dental anxiety.
Have a Little Faith
Keep in mind that dentists need space to do their job. If your child requires a dental procedure, you will most likely be asked to remain in the waiting room. During medical surgery, it's understood that family members are not allowed in the operatory so as to not contaminate the area or disturb the proceedings. Likewise, dentists need their operatory clear of distractions so that they can concentrate on performing dental surgery.
Remember, dentists aren't trying to banish you to the waiting room -- they want you to stay involved in your child's dental care. If you're not allowed back in the dental operatory, ask your dentist what you can expect during and after the procedure. Your dentist can tell you what methods they use to comfort patients and eliminate pain. Not only will it give you peace of mind, but it will help you prepare your child for the visit. Through communication and trust, your child can have a successful dentistry experience, with many more to come.