A Child's First Dental Visit—A Very Special Day

by Dr. Barry Schwartz, D.D.S.

Parents often ask me how old children should be before coming to see the dentist. I recommend the age of two and-a-half years old. At this age children can reason and understand easily. I try to foster a feeling of importance and self worth in the child according to the "Adlerian" philos­ophy as described by Rudolph Dreikurs, author of "Children the Challenge". In this way children choose to not only cooperate but become actively enthusiastic about what is taking place.

The benefits of this are not just for the dentist. A patient that is highly motivated and involved will be more conscientious concerning his or her eating and cleaning habits and will likely have fewer problems. In other cases, children that have had several cleaning and fluoride visits will often not find any problems with a restorative appointment. Have discussions with your children about their first visit, but please, try to avoid words that relate to pain, even if there is a "no" in front of it. If you let the children develop their own impressions you will be happily rewarded.

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