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Do you allow parents back in the operatory?

During your child’s appointment, our staff will present the option to you of whether to accompany your child in the appointment, or stay behind in our waiting area. Our many years of experience have shown that children often behave better without parents present.  The dental visit is an opportunity for the child to develop a relationship of trust with the dentist. Without realizing it, parents may misdirect a child’s attention, or give inaccurate information and the child then relies on the parent instead of the dentist. While we love interacting with parents, we may miss the opportunity to interact with your child. By hanging back in our reception area, it allows the child to take ownership of the appointment and our staff to develop a relationship with your child. That being said, the option is always yours to make.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents of older children remain in the waiting room when children are brought into the dental appointment. Babies and some young children may benefit from having one of their parents in the appointment with them, but it’s usually in a child’s best interest to be treated without parental interference. Studies have shown that children over the age of 3, often respond better to dental treatment when their parents aren’t in sight. Keep in mind, our Pediatric dentists have attended dental school AND completed a two year residency program in pediatric dentistry. Many of our dentists have children of their own. Our dentists are specially trained to handle many behavioral problems that might arise. Our dentists have experience treating the smallest of children, and patients with some of the most severe disabilities.

Let’s face it, dental appointments can be uneasy for adults too. A parent may have apprehension about their own experience in the dental chair. Without intending to, parents can transfer their anxiety to the child. Allowing your child to enter the appointment without you means you’re placing trust in your dental professionals and teaching your child to do the same.  It is our specialty to create an environment in which your child feels safe.

Our practice always allows you to make the choice. If you decide to accompany your child, we would ask the following:

  • Assume the role of a silent observer. Your presence is greatly enhanced if you play a passive role. If more than one person is speaking to the child they may become confused. Cooperation and trust must be established directly between the doctors and dental assistants with your child and not through you.
  • In order to allow necessary space for the Doctor and Dental Team to provide outstanding care for your child, only one Parent / Guardian may accompany a patient into the operatory.
  • Due to your child’s safety and the safety of our dental staff, we ask that siblings of patients remain in the waiting area.  It is our belief that siblings who wait in the waiting area and not accompany patients, have greater success in their own future dental appointments.
  • Other methods may be used and explained as needed to guide your child’s behavior and provide a positive dental experience.

Parents and dentists are a team working to ensure the dental health of your children throughout their adolescents into adulthood. It is our hope to have shed a little light on this topic. If you still have questions regarding our policy or concerns with something you read, let us know and we are happy to address them.