Toddlers: 24 Months+

Do you stay with LO at the dentist?

DS is just about to turn 3 and I am trying to set up his first dentist appointment.  Two places I called clearly specified that I can go with him the first time, but after that, I have to stay in the waiting room.  I asked two friends with young kids what they do, and they both said they go with their kid.  My feeling is that if he were older, maybe 8 or so, I wouldn't mind letting him go by himself.  But at three, I'm not so sure.  

Do you stay with your child at the dentist?  At what age do you think it's ok to let him go by himself. 

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Re: Do you stay with LO at the dentist?

  • tracy41tracy41
    250 Answers Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments Combo Breaker
    I can understand the thought behind having the dentist establish a relationship with the child without the parent and I'm sure some parents make dentists trips worse for their kids! That being said, no medical or dental procedure will be performed on my child, short of surgery, without me being present. Maybe the dentist would be satisfied if you came in after your child was in the chair and sat out of sight?
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  • wedseptwedsept
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Comments

    My DD is 3.  We still go with her.  Honestly, she sits on our laps on the chair because she (like a lot of 3 year olds and for that matter, people) hate the dentist.  I would never go to any physician/dentist that required me to be away from my child. 

  • smerkasmerka
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    We see a pediatric dentist.  They have the parents stay in the waiting room.  I thought it was going to be a huge ordeal (he has sensory issues) but I only heard a little bit of screaming from the waiting room.  In a lot of cases the kids do better without the parents around.  
  • Every single pediatric dentist in our city requires that the parent stay behind!  It drives me nuts.  I can understand that kids will behave better sometimes without their parent there. We picked one that has windows set up in front of all the chairs.  All the dental chairs are in one big room, so that the kids and doctor are never alone and the kids can see other kids getting their teeth checked too.  The parents are allowed to sit at the windows to watch.  They said if you really, really have an issue with it or if your child seems overly nervous or scared, then you can come back with them and sit at the end of the dental chair.  So, they do make exceptions at our place.  We've only been once though and we went back for that. They ended up doing a lap exam anyhow because he was afraid of the big chair.  While I think it's kind of strange and I'm not a fan of the policy, I can see why they do it.  It's a lot like when parents visit in my classroom.  For whatever reason, the second their mother walks into the room, they think they no longer need to follow classroom procedures and act like crazy people.  You'd think it would be the opposite! 


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  • We haven't gone yet so I'm not sure of the office policy... we'll find out this fall!

    I get the concept that most kids will act better without their parents there, but my LO is super shy and would completely flip his lid. There is no way he is going in there without me because I think they wouldn't be able to see in his mouth through all the thrashing and screaming. 

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  • LSU628LSU628
    Ninth Anniversary 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    We go to a pedi dentist. They have several chairs in an open area. They have benches where the parents sit so I could see DD, but she sat in the chair by herself. There was one kid pitching a fit so they had the mother leave to see if he would calm down without her.
  • Yes, we do stay with him. We go to a pediatric dentist and have been since he turned 1 so I don't know if that's the difference. DS really does not like the dentist so I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving him alone until he felt a little better about it. Not sure when that will  be. :P
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  • Better believe I go in there with her!  I called ahead to make sure it wouldn't be a problem.  It's funny I was talking to DD's pedi about it who has three kids and she said, "If I don't go in they don't go in!" She said she actually left an office once because of it.  I just don't get it, I wouldn't let DD go to the doctor without me, why should I at the dentist?  She can go alone when she's old enough to tell me she's comfortable with me in the waiting room.  
  • I understand why dentists choose to have parents stay in the waiting room.

    However, my daughter is an introvert like her dad, and does not warm up to new people easily at all.  (As in, it would take many, many days of regularly getting to visit with this person just for fun for her to be anything other than melting down at me leaving her alone.)  They would have to forcibly restrain her (hard) to do anything with her if I left.  So, I will not go to a dentist that requires me to wait behind.

    What is your child like?

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  • DD2 just had her second dentist appointment, and my DD1 is on the autism spectrum. Yes, I sit near them in a chair at the foot of the exam chair, and encourage them to behave. We go to a family dentist. 

    They're both troopers and fine with having their teeth scraped, polished and flossed, but I want them to be very familiar and comfortable before they do it without me. 


    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
  • I go with my kids.  I have been to two different dentists and have always seen parents go with their kids.  I don't know that I would feel comfortable having my kids go back without me for quite some time yet and would find a new dentist.  Did you try a pediatric dentist?
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  • The website for our dentist says that they prefer the kids go without the parents; however, both times that DH has taken DS, he has gone back with him.
    DS born 8/8/09 and DD born 6/12/12.
  • Thanks.  DS is very outgoing.  We call him the mayor because he has to say goodbye to every single person at daycare before we leave.  I'm sure he'd be fine.  I just wasn't expecting it and wasn't sure if it was normal.  I was looking at pediatric dentists.  

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  • I don't agree with the parents not being able to be in the room, and I would never let my child be seen without me present. Especially at such a young age. I actually took DS about a month ago. We chose a pediatric dentist. DS was NOT having any of it - wouldn't sit in the chair, wouldn't sit on my lap in the chair, wouldn't open his mouth. The dr. came in and we chatted and she said "meh, try again in 6 months". NBD.

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