Welcome to our pediatric dentistry office

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that children should begin to visit a pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday. Although this might seem young, it is extremely important that newly erupted primary teeth receive proper dental care from the very beginning.

Initial appointments are primarily used to help educate parents on proper cleaning methods, to discuss nutritional information, to create a plan in case of future dental trauma, and simply to begin familiarizing children with the dentist and dental office.

It's been shown that non-threatening visits at an early age also help to build your child's confidence, provide a foundation for hygiene awareness and begin to create a trusting relationship between your child and our dental team.

During your first visit

Child with Missing ToothDuring your first visit to Hendersonville Pediatric Dentistry, you and your child will become familiar with our office, our staff and our methods. We will make a great effort to ensure that you and your child feel comfortable in this new environment. We encourage parents to accompany their children during the initial visit. This introduces parents to our treatment surroundings, allows Dr. McKenzie to discuss his initial dental findings, and provides parents with a general idea of our philosophies.

Depending upon your child's response during this initial visit, Dr. McKenzie will provide recommendations for the following visits. If you accompany your child into the treatment area during subsequent visits, we suggest that you act as a silent & supportive observer only. It is very important for us to establish cooperation and trust directly with your child, as this will help your child begin to form a long lasting relationship with our team, which should precipitate a positive outlook on children's dentistry.

Reviewing treatment options

Once Dr. McKenzie establishes his findings, we will discuss our treatment plan and recommendations with the accompanying parent or legal guardian. We encourage parents to take an active role in deciding which treatment options are best for each individual child. After treatment options have been thoroughly explored, you will receive a detailed treatment plan, which includes all recommended treatments, costs and insurance information. A treatment and financial coordinator will then carefully review this information in detail and will explain how your specific dental insurance benefits work. Lastly, all payment options will be explored, any final treatment questions will be answered, and a follow-up appointment will be scheduled.

Helping your child prepare for their first visit

  • Child's first visit to the dentistAlways speak positively about dentists and going to the dentist. In spite of any negative encounters that you may have had to experience, your child is going to enjoy coming to our office! Hearing parents, siblings and friends speak negatively, even the slightest comments or tone of voice, makes appointments more difficult for your child. You are your child's greatest hero and positive role modeling is considered the most important facet to ensuring a positive visit.

Children love to play and pretend. Practicing a visit to the dentist at home can be a source of pleasure and a wonderful time of togetherness for you and your child.

  • Practice counting your child's teeth. Let your child know that the dentist will do the same. Lay your child back with their head in your lap. When on their back, have your child practice opening wide for the dentist. Use props such as toothbrushes; spoons make a perfect "dental mirror". You can even let your child pretend that they are the dentist examining and counting your teeth. In this way, you are providing your child with enough information to prepare for their first dental visit.
  • Explain that you think it's fun to go to the dentist and that having your teeth "polished" feels good to you. By explaining the visit in this way, you help your child better understand the purpose of the visit through your personal experiences. As humans we relate better - even as a child - to this, rather than someone telling us how we are going to feel about the experience.
  • Let your child know that when you went to the dentist as a child you typically received a special prize from the dentist for cooperating at this visit.
  • Trust your pediatric dentist and the dental staff. Your child will sense if you mistrust and will transfer that to their dentist. Be positive, have a positive attitude and look on your face for your child. Remember your dentist and our staff are experts in the pediatric dental arena.

After the first visit, offer your child specific praise about anything they did well.

  • Reward and praise for every dental appointment. Things like "I'm proud of you, you really tried hard today" or "You did a great job opening wide for the dentist" or "You did a great job listening today". We all love praise; the more we get the more we want to hear it. The fact that your child wants to please you is your most effective tool in providing your child with a positive dental experience.

Young PatientsFor our very young patients

The first visit with a young child is typically completed with your child sitting in your lap while facing you. Dr. Andy or a staff member will sit with their knees touching yours, while your child lies back onto our lap. This position is known as a "knee-to-knee examination" and allows for the young child to remain in direct contact with their parent, while providing a reclined position for the caregiver to easily evaluate the oral cavity. We also recommend that this position be used when brushing and flossing your child's teeth at home.

Encouraging a fussy child to complete these noninvasive visits semi-annually will quickly allow them to develop confidence and an overall understanding of what to expect during these visits.

Supporting Young ChildrenFor young children coming to our office for their very first dental experience, parents can expect some children to show outward signs of anxiety stemming from a new and unknown surrounding. During this visit we may encourage your child to take radiographs, complete a dental cleaning, and apply professional topical fluoride. Completion of all these tasks is greatly dependent upon your child's cooperativeness, the acuteness and degree of any visible dental decay, and your underlying comfort level.

During the knee-to-knee exam, the dental assistant will request that you hold your child's hands to facilitate the examination and to prevent injury secondary to grabbing a dental instrument. It is extremely important to remember that nothing during this visit will cause pain to your child. Usually after 3-4 visits, if your child is anxious, this will resolve after 3-4 visits and it is at this time that most children are able to sit in the dental chair unassisted.

Supporting your child

Please be aware that parents who stop a visit because they become upset by witnessing their child behaving defiantly and/or crying will unintentionally reinforce the event and greatly increase the likelihood of the same reaction being repeated at future visits to the dentist. Ultimately, your child's ability to cope with this situation may be hindered. It is very important that your child have a successful experience at their first dental visit to our office because we want your child to be able to have routine examinations at least twice a year for the rest of their life.

As pediatric dentist, Dr. McKenzie has received extensive training in pediatric development and child psychology, which provides him with insight on a child's behavior.

Feel confident in knowing that Dr. McKenzie have successfully worked with thousands of children and has been confronted with many personality types. We do not expect children to act mature beyond their age; we expect your child to exhibit age-appropriate coping skills. If you are not completely comfortable with the management of a particular situation, we desire your input. It is important that you freely and openly discuss the management of your child's behavior. We truly want what is best for your child!