Quite often, when scheduling a new pediatric dental patient, we hear from the parent that they are afraid of the dentist. This is a very important bit of information and my objective is to find out why they are afraid and then work with that knowledge to turn them into a trusting, unafraid child who will become a "great" dental patient for life.
There are usually two main reasons children are afraid. One, they have been hurt or mistreated previously by a medical person like a nurse, doctor or dentist. Two, they have been told by an older sibling or friend that it will hurt. Trust that has never been developed, or has been lost, is a hard but not impossible thing to restore.
My first visit with this child will always be with the parent present. Talking about what happened before is important, and then telling and showing the child how our office will be different. If treatment is needed, we would never do it the first time unless there was an emergency. But when we do, I always try to start with the easiest thing that can be done in the shortest amount of time. Then we gradually lengthen the appointments until all is completed.
It may take 2-3 visits before I have the child's trust, but if handled appropriately (which 35 years of experience has taught me how to do) the child's trust is regained and they become a great dental patient for life!