As a new family dentist chomping at the bit to get your practice underway, you have a number of responsibilities to juggle. Nothing is more important than nailing down patient education strategies. This focus is especially important where the youngest children are concerned. Preparing parents of young toddlers for a first visit is especially critical, since, as studies show, early dental intervention significantly improves long-term oral health. However, if you approach this task with concern and diplomacy, you can create a positive impression that will last a lifetime.

Facility Care

Parents want the best for their children, so outline the care you put into your facilities. Note any child-focused elements you incorporate, such as colorful pictures, and waiting-room toys. Point out the cleaning and hygiene procedures you enact. Finally, using layperson terminology, point out how you keep your equipment in state-of-the-art condition; for example, note that you incorporate high speed dental handpiece cartridge replacement as necessary.

Home Preventative Measures

Not all parents are well-versed in the best dental healthcare tips for their child. Provide an educational checklist broken down into age-appropriate best practices. Outlining information geared toward younger children is especially important: Pacifier use, sweet-juice bottle feeding, gum and early-tooth cleaning and other parenting practices do’s and don’ts should be addressed.

Scheduling Suggestions

Work with parents to schedule the first appointment at a time that works with their routines. Too often, medical practitioners provide only appointment options that fit into the practice’s schedule; these may not be appropriate for a young child that has set nap or feeding times. By working with parents to find the right calendar fit, you can reduce stress for both them and their children.

Child and Parent Preparation

Even if you are able to find a schedule that accommodates the child, visiting the dentist can be disruptive and intimidating. Ask parents to actively prepare their children for the visit. To make this preparation effective, clarify to parents what will occur. They can then explain why they are going to the dentist what to expect at the visit. Parents might turn the explanation into a game by role-playing the visit.

A child’s first dental visit is a milestone event. Ideally, the visit will be productive and pleasant, where the child leaves excited for the next visit. To reach that end, you can prepare parents, and help them prepare their children before they step through your door; doing so will bring smiles to everyone’s face.

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