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"Can I come back with my child?"

It is very normal for parents to want to accompany their child to the treatment area for their pediatric dental visit. Every office has it's own policy regarding this. Some always allow parents in the treatment area for any procedure with any aged child. Other offices will not allow parents in the back for anything on any aged child. So how does our office respond to this question?

I believe that for any child younger than kindergarten age, usually 5, parents are welcome to be with their child for any dental procedure ranging from routine exams and cleaning up to fillings and extractions. These younger children have usually not been separated from their parents unless they have been in some sort of daycare. Having a parent there sometimes gives the child comfort and we certainly welcome that. We also welcome parents in the back for all ages for routine recall-type appointments. This give me the opportunity to talk with parents and their child about oral hygiene and future care as well as other aspects of their lives. I love talking about school, work, vacations, etc.

However, for children 6 and older needing fillings, extractions or any more advanced type treatment, I ask that parents remain in our reception area. These type procedures require much more concentration and I find it almost impossible to focus on the child and their treatment when a parent is present. They usually want to talk with me or their child, which is hard to do with their mouth open and my hands inside! This distracts the child and makes it more challenging for me to communicate directly with them and complete their treatment in a timely manner. And, if they are old enough to be away from their parents at school, then they can usually handle a few minutes away from them to have to dental treatment completed. My experience over 35 years is that older kids do very well, and sometimes better, when their parent is not present. I am able to communicate everything to them, comfort them, and complete their treatment painlessly without a parent, who is usually more nervous than their child!

Ultimately, it is excellent care given to our pediatric patients in a stress-free and pain-free environment that we strive for. Sometimes that works with parents present and sometimes it works better if they are not.

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