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I'm curious what the parent policy is at your child's dentist. I've only been to two pediatric dentist offices, and the first one was when the kids were pretty young. The parent went back with the child every time and I never saw parents in the waiting room.

 

Now the practice I'm at discourages parents going back. My kids are preschool/elementary aged. I like to know what's going on to prevent problems. (Problem tooth spots). The dentist here puts notes in the chart which the receptionist reads, and the dentist asks if there are questions. It seems an easier parent policy if I were to go back to discuss with the dentist myself and sleek with the hygienist. If I insisted, I could go back but it almost seems confrontational. I have been back a few times before and I don't have any professional concerns. I do worry there is no advocate for my kids if there are problems.

 

What is typical in the dentist world? I'm considering changing offices but if most offices are the same it may not be worth it. Also, when they are older it won't bother me and this procedure will be fine.

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I love, love, love our pediatric dentist!  The entire office is great, but this particular dentist is fantastic. 

 

They allow parents to come back and don't care at all.  

 

I would not want a dentist that told me I couldn't come back.

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Our dentist encourages us to come in with DS. They have a couple of chairs in the room. DS sits in the dentist chair and I sit at one of the waiting chairs. The hygienist or dentist talks to both DS and me and they always seem appreciative that I come back, whether it's to answer questions or to be there if DS is nervous about something (he had to have 2 teeth pulled in September). 

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I would not go to a pediatric dentist who discouraged parents in the back. 

 

When my kids first went to the dentist, I went back with them every time, probably through elementary school.  Gradually things evolved until I sat in the waiting room.  It was never intentional -- it was a natural evolution.  

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Parents are always welcome at our pediatric dentist, and always go back with the kids.  It would be weird not to go back, as frequently the adults there need to tell you stuff.  

 

I would not go to a dentist that didn't let me back there with my kid.

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I was a dental assistant years ago and we were taught in school that the child does better when the parents are not around so it was best to try to keep the parents out.  Hopefully that thinking is changing because as a parent, if a practice didn't allow me to look in on my child, then I would have found another dentist.  I was in the room when they were little and they always did fine.  

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Ours seemed to think I was a little weird for staying at my kids' first cleanings (when they were 7 or 8).  I had heard it is common for parents to not stay in the room, but I stayed because it was a first for my kids.  I don't feel the need to stay for routine stuff.  They don't shut doors and I would hear if there was any fuss.  Not that my kids are the type to fuss.

 

I don't know why the dentists seem to prefer this.  Perhaps kids act more foolish if their parents are around?  Maybe parents act nervous and freak the kids out?

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Almost every pediatric dentist our town (probably 5-6) forbids parents from accompanying their kids into the treatment room.  They even insist that you hand small toddlers over to strangers.  When we needed a pediatric dentist, we ended up having to drive 40 minutes (3 towns over) to find one that would allow me to be with my kids.  I was very happy when my kids could see our family dentists in town instead. 

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I've had 2 out of 4 kids that have needed dental treatment at a younger age, the first at 4 and the second at 3. I held my 4y.o. hands during everything she had done(she was able to get hers done with just nitrous). I told her stories and sang songs while they worked, there were some rough spots during one visit but they were short lived. My 3yo had to be sedated(she was missing some enamel). She sat in my lap until she got groggy from the sedative and then I carried her back to the room myself. They treated her like their own child and although I didn't stay back I trusted them implicitly, the initial exam was done from my lap and the dentist refused to push anything that made the child upset. I heard horror stories from friends that had their kids papoosed- I refused to use a practice that operated that way. I remember a terrifying experience myself as a kid, the dentist threatening me for crying. My mom sure didn't take me back there after I told her. My 8 yo and 11yo did their last cleanings by themselves but they were ready for it. I certainly would have been allowed in if I had wanted.

Edited by soror
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I love our pediatric dentist, but my children go back on their own (and have for many years). When we first started going there, oldest DD was 3.  They started us off with parent-lap visits (mommy holds the child).  They graduate from that to mommy sitting in the chair beside them.  After a year or so, they're on their own.

 

I meet with a hygienist before the visit for any concerns, after the visit to discuss it, and then the dentist comes up and covers anything needed with me and if I have any questions.

 

I don't have a problem with the system, but I feel that if my children were particularly scared or needed me, our dentist would allow me back.

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My children are 2 and 7. When it was just the 7 year old I went back every time. Now I schedule the appointments at the same time and so I by default go back around the same time but I really just see my baby. I could go back if need be, but with a 2 year old in tow, it is easier for me to not go back as there is activities in the waiting room. The only procedures my children have had is my older son just had sealants put on his teeth. To me that is hardly a procedure. 

 

I love my children's dentist! Seriously I went to a pediatric dentist when I was a child and I think this one is even better! My 2 year old loves it so much I sometimes find him wanting to brush his teeth at other times!

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When K needed dental work before age 2 (had 2 teeth that shared a root and developed decay between them due to insufficient enamel), the dentist examined the teeth while K was in my lap.  But, the procedure was going to take much longer than a 2 year old could typically sit still for (plus K was a particularly intense kid that hated strangers touching them.)  The dentist did not like to use general anesthesia unless absolutely necessary and fixing one tooth was not one of those cases. The plan was to use a sedative to make K groggy and the papoose board to help keep K still.  But, we talked about what we could do to make it less traumatic, including bringing a blankie to line the papoose board with something familiar and a small toy to keep in one hand.  We practiced at home using the blankie to give K a big hug.  During the procedure, they had a heartrate monitor on the entire time.  They encouraged me to hold K's hand and to sing to them if it would keep K calmer.  I sang "Take me out to the ballgame" about 50 times and I could see the heartrate go down every time I sang.  When the procedure was taking a little longer than they thought (found another area of decay), K's heartrate seemed pretty high to me. The dentist saw my concerned expression and assured me that it was still within safe ranges, but was elevated since K was getting pretty unhappy.  She encouraged me to keep singing since it seemed to have a calming effect.  

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Our pediatric dentist has an open room, 7 chairs lined up side by side where the hygenists work on the kids doing cleanings.  On the outside wall is a row of chairs for parents to sit in.  When I've had little kids, I've been encouraged to sit in the chair with the kids while they are cleaned.  They do have private work rooms if there is special concerns/needs/fears that needs to be addressed or more in depth procedures. But it's fabulous for me since I schedule 6 chairs for the same appointment time.  Dentist and I just go down the row and we discuss issues with each kid.

 

I would be very uncomfortable with a place that wouldn't let me back with my kids.  How else would they be able to show me the problems spots that my kids need to work on brushing or other issues they see arising?  I don't know that we've ever been to the dentist where at least one kid didn't have to open their mouth so they could show me some issue (our biggest issues is teeth errupting in the wrong places).

Edited by cjzimmer1
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My kid used to see a pediatric dentist.  On the first visit when he was 2 or 3, he said that he preferred to see the kids alone.  I balked saying DS would be scared and he said "Let's compromise.  If he's the slightest bit hesitant, you come, but let me invite him to go alone first" so I said yes and my kid, same kid who cried about preschool every day, jumped off his chair took the guy's hand and off they went.  He'd clean and check the teeth then call you back to review the results.

 

I can't say exactly what happened, for all I know they were eating lollipops back there to drum up business.  I do know that in the forms they asked for DS's favorite TV shows and there was a TV above his head.  What I do know is that despite cavities,  and broken teeth, DS LOVED that dentist and would beg me to go more often.  He was always smiles when I came back to see him.  So, we kept going.  I have to assume that there was nothing sinister going on.

 

Then I got a new job with dental insurance and he wasn't covered.  The new guy just assumed I'd come back with my 14 year old, and when I said "If you want me to, I'm fine either way" he told me that parents are never comfortable with that.  DS likes the new guy too, but no where near as much as the old one.  

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I first heard of ped dentists not allowing parents back here on the boards a few years ago. I would HATE that. I would not go to dentist who did that.

 

My kids are now 11 and 13. I schedule their visits at the same time, and they're usually in the exam rooms at the same time (different rooms.) For about a year and a half, the oldest son hasn't cared either way if I'm in the room, but my youngest still wants me there, so I sit in his room while his brother (13) is alone in the next room. I expect that one day, the younger will say, "Mom you can stay in the waiting room," and from this age on (11) I'd be fine with that. I might be fine with it in a younger child, IF the child was requesting it.

 

I would NOT be ok with the dentist saying I couldn't be back there, especially if my kids wanted me there. Oh no! Not gonna happen!

 

I suppose it can depend on the relationship between the parent and child. Or it can depend on if the parent has a fear of dentists that comes through to the child. Logically, I can imagine scenarios where the parent does make the visit more difficult for the child, but I have a feeling that is the exception, not the norm. Yet, the dentists may only take note of those exceptions, which would be a normal human reaction--to notice the problem parents more than the regular parents.

 

My one son had to have some teeth removed and the oral surgeon was ok with me being there, too. I would not have gone to someone who wasn't ok with that. I knew it would be nerve wracking for my son and he would want me there. Some kids might not feel that way if the parent/child relationship is strained, but most actually LIKE their parents and want them there as a source of comfort. :).

 

Actually, as a child, I'm not sure if I'd have wanted my parents there or not...my mother probably--up to about 13, but not my father. The poor man has some social anxiety issues or something and he can be very draining to deal with. I would not want him there during an anxious situation. He would make it a lot worse without even knowing he was doing it. :).

 

That was off track: bottom line--if you want to be there and especially if your child wants you to be there, then you should be there. If the dentist won't allow it, find another dentist.

Edited by Garga
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We've been with the same pediatric dentist since my now-17-year-old was 3. 

 

The first visit or two, parents are invited back, but after that, the parent is encouraged to wait in the waiting room. However, if the child is having a difficult time or the parent insists, exceptions can be made. Also, the dentist comes out to talk to the parent EVERY single time, after the appointment, to let them know how the cleaning/procedure went, to give suggestions for improved brushing, and/or to discuss anything else that comes up. 

 

While I was surprised by the "no parents" guideline at first, we haven't had a single unpleasant experience, and my kids are very happy with this dentist.

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Ours encourages parents to send kids back without them, so the kids can get used to trusting the staff.  But with very young children or other situations, they are not going to tell a parent that they can't come back.  They also want to do everything they can to avoid the dentist being a frightening or traumatic experience.  Their goal is kids who aren't afraid to go back by themselves.  

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The pediatric dentist office we quit didn't allow parents. But dd has T1 diabetes and I insisted I go back with her. We quit them bc of a couple questionable billing errors that made me think they were less than honest. I love our new dentist and I usually wait, but I am allowed to go back there and I do with my littlest. Plus, the dentist calls me back towards the end to go over care.

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With the ped dentist we always go back, all the parents do so far as I can tell.  Our ped orthodontist only the kid goes back but they let me back once when they were having some issues getting a device to fit properly in my son's mouth.  They let me sit with him for comfort.  Parents are welcome but not encouraged to come back because of space.  The chairs are just in a row in one big room and you can see in from the 2 side openings so if a parent wanted they could watch from the side.  I did that initially but we've gone long enough now I just wait for him.   I would not use a ped service that didn't allow me at least some access.  My oldest has multiple severe allergies and when knew things get used I like to be able to watch carefully.

Edited by UCF612
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I'm curious what the parent policy is at your child's dentist. I've only been to two pediatric dentist offices, and the first one was when the kids were pretty young. The parent went back with the child every time and I never saw parents in the waiting room.

 

Now the practice I'm at discourages parents going back. My kids are preschool/elementary aged. I like to know what's going on to prevent problems. (Problem tooth spots). The dentist here puts notes in the chart which the receptionist reads, and the dentist asks if there are questions. It seems an easier parent policy if I were to go back to discuss with the dentist myself and sleek with the hygienist. If I insisted, I could go back but it almost seems confrontational. I have been back a few times before and I don't have any professional concerns. I do worry there is no advocate for my kids if there are problems.

 

What is typical in the dentist world? I'm considering changing offices but if most offices are the same it may not be worth it. Also, when they are older it won't bother me and this procedure will be fine.

Parents are welcome and generally expected to go back with their children at our pediatric dentist's office. The office is set up with benches and/or extra chairs in the exam areas. The dentist talks with me during/after the exam. I would not be happy just having the receptionist read what the dentist said. My son has gone back by himself when he was just having sealants put on and not even seeing the dentist--but he was 12, not a preschooler.

 

ETA: Our ortho office also encourages parents to go back with their kids. The ortho wants to be sure I know what's going on with the treatment and if there are any concerns.

Edited by Bethany Grace
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In our area, it was all over the board.  Some were antagonistic about parents accompanying the child, others thought it best if parents didn't but left it up to the parent, others felt whatever the parent was comfortable was fine by them, and others encouraged/expected parents to accompany children.

 

Myself, I am VERY uncomfortable with any refusal or discouragement of parents accompanying their child, in particular with elementary age children, and this goes for medical professionals, dental professionals, counselors, etc.  

 

I found (in my area) that family practice dentists were more accepting of parents accompanying children.  The dentist I finally chose was very upfront about wanting a child to be comfortable and not fear going to the dentist.  My 4yo gets his teeth cleaned while sitting on my lap while my 9yo is happy to go off by herself.  Although the 9yo likes to go by herself, I am told what room she is in and that I can feel free to check on her anytime.  

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We don't go to a ped dentist. I've never been told I can't be there and they worked with my girls slowly over the years to make them comfortable with the process. When they were littler I often sat with them in my lap so they would feel safe. Then I would hold their hand when they felt comfortable to lay by themselves. Now I don't go with them because they are so comfortable they choose to go themselves. Our practice is great. When I lost a filling and needed it replaced my younger daughter was so intrigued by the process they drug in a stool so she could sit with the dentist and watch them work on it. I think it made her more comfortable by seeing me stay calm during the procedure and she even held my hand while they gave me the Novocain.

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We've been with the same pediatric dentist since my now-17-year-old was 3. 

 

The first visit or two, parents are invited back, but after that, the parent is encouraged to wait in the waiting room. However, if the child is having a difficult time or the parent insists, exceptions can be made. Also, the dentist comes out to talk to the parent EVERY single time, after the appointment, to let them know how the cleaning/procedure went, to give suggestions for improved brushing, and/or to discuss anything else that comes up. 

 

While I was surprised by the "no parents" guideline at first, we haven't had a single unpleasant experience, and my kids are very happy with this dentist.

 

This is what I remember from when my kids were little.  I think I went back the first time or two, and then they went back by themselves.  The dentist and hygienist always came out to talk to me, show me xrays, express concerns, give me a chance to ask questions, etc.  It's not like we didn't get any feedback.

 

I think in general dentist prefer parents not come back because there are always going to be some parents who try to tell the dentist they're doing something wrong, or don't let the dentist go on if the child shows the slightest amount of discomfort.  I'm not talking about severe pain, but, dentistry can be uncomfortable and sometimes kids will tough it out a little for the dentist/hygienist better if the parent is not there.  Again, I'm not talking about a lot of pain, but general discomfort that can come with any procedure or cleaning.   That is a general impression I've gotten from talking to dentists, hygienists, other parents, etc.

 

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My mother's adult teeth were permanently ruined by a dentist doing unnecessary procedures to drum up business.   As in she went from no cavities ever to more than one cavity per tooth that needed filling 6 months later.   So, yeah, I'm going back there.   Hasn't been a problem.   She went to a pediatric specialist to have a baby tooth removed early and the extra tooth that was in the roots of her front two teeth.   So, fairly involved.  For that, they had noise cancelling headset and a TV overhead playing the Barbie Butterfly show that she picked out.   

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We all go to the same family dentist and we've always gone in with the kids. It's rather cramped, but no one has suggested I go to the waiting room. We started going to the practice because my co-room mom from DS's preschool was one of the hygienists. My kids were completely comfortable with her, but I stayed in the room because I couldn't imagine not being there. She's moved since then, but the other hygienists and the dentist are also fine with me being there. I would find a new dentist if I wasn't 'allowed' to stay with my child.

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Our pediatric dentist is a husband and wife team.  The wife gave me grief about going back with dd who had severe dental anxiety and needed pre-sedation.  I told her that I was staying unless she was willing to have us leave the appointment and the practice.  The husband has never ever given me or any other parent grief about going back.  Guess which dentist I ask for. 

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My children have always gone back on their own and then the dentist talks to me at the end.  It has been better for my kids.  I have significant dentist anxiety myself so I think they were better off without me present.  I did not want to pass that anxiety on to them.  It has never been a problem.  The new dentist in our practice has a very open door policy and wont do anything that makes the child uncomfortable.   They also go back alone at the orthodontist.  

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Our ped dentist practice is completely set up for parents and sibs to go back. The main exam room is a big open room with several exam tables, chairs for parents by the walls and by the table sides, toy boxes, etc. Even the x-ray rooms are enclosed with glass so the child can see the parent the entire time. They do have a "quiet" room for procedures or for a child who might be loud (and upsetting to other kids) but parents are given the option of staying in. When my youngest was 2 yo, he fell and shattered a front tooth. He had to be papoosed for all of 3-5 minutes while the numbing agent kicked in and they extracted it. I was allowed to stay for the entire procedure.

 

Our ortho also allows parents back. I don't usually go back unless they request it (sometimes they specify that he needs a parent to go back with him), but I did the first few times until I had an idea of how things were run in the back. My oldest had to have a tooth extracted, and the oral surgeon did kick me out for that (nicely), but let me stay through the administration of the anesthesia and they came and got me immediately after they were done. My son was almost 12 at the time, so it was different than having a baby or toddler back there.

Edited by Forget-me-not
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The last two dentists ds has seen we were not invited to go back (family dentists, not pediatric) and I didn't push back about it because he was school age by then. This thread has been interesting to me.

 

Ds has a brand new dental appt. coming up soon and I don't know how they do things for cleanings since this will be his first visit there, but we have as a family all been in the room a couple of times now and I feel good about the staff. They did dd's stitches/follow up and are a pediatric and special needs dentist. I doubt they would have a problem with me going back if I wanted to. I do think the going alone thing at other offices was based on children behaving differently or maybe the room feeling crowded. Or heck, maybe making the hygienist nervous. I know I don't like people hovering while I work.

 

ETA: wait, are we talking about during the cleaning or at the end of the appointment when the dentist comes in the room? I might have been invited back at the end of one of them.

Edited by heartlikealion
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I'm curious what the parent policy is at your child's dentist. I've only been to two pediatric dentist offices, and the first one was when the kids were pretty young. The parent went back with the child every time and I never saw parents in the waiting room.

 

Now the practice I'm at discourages parents going back. My kids are preschool/elementary aged. I like to know what's going on to prevent problems. (Problem tooth spots). The dentist here puts notes in the chart which the receptionist reads, and the dentist asks if there are questions. It seems an easier parent policy if I were to go back to discuss with the dentist myself and sleek with the hygienist. If I insisted, I could go back but it almost seems confrontational. I have been back a few times before and I don't have any professional concerns. I do worry there is no advocate for my kids if there are problems.

 

What is typical in the dentist world? I'm considering changing offices but if most offices are the same it may not be worth it. Also, when they are older it won't bother me and this procedure will be fine.

 

That's a deal breaker.

 

I had one dental assistant try to pry my 2 year old out of my arms, having informed me that the practice had just embraced this dubious practice. She did not succeed. I made my policies known and never went back.

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I'm another who has found this thread helpful. I've long been uneasy/displeased with my DC's pediatric dentist. His office is the only one in town (pediatric), so I went with them upon moving here. They always allow parents back for cleanings. It's a big open room with about 6 exam chairs. BUT, they absolutely refuse to allow a parent during a procedure. ANY procedure. The check up before the last one, my DS age 7 needed a filling. I said his dad would need to go back with him because DS has anxiety. I said he'd do just fine, as long as DH could come. The office staff makes the appointments and seemed quite exasperated by my request. She informed me that they have just a few 'parent' appointments each day and would require the dentist's approval. Ooookaaay... So she called back and asked the dentist and was able to scheduled one. I was irritated, but still got the result I was seeking so went back for the next 6 month appointment. Same thing...DS7 has a cavity, needs a filling. I told the office staff that I needed a 'parent' appointment. She said they were 'getting away from those' but would ask the dentist. I said that yes she needed to because it was a necessity for this DS. She came back and said the dentist said no. WTH?!! I was LIVID. On many, many levels this infuriated me. I'm not confrontational, but I told her in a room full of people 'I want you to point blank tell me that you refuse to make an appointment and allow me to go back?' She said 'yes I guess so'. I said 'then print my kids records'.

Whew...as you can tell, I'm still quite upset. And unfortunately, without a dentist. I guess I have about 3 months to find one. It does help a lot, (a whole lot!) to read your replies and realize that I'm not completely crazy and that my expectations aren't absurd.

I think I might try just a regular family dentist and see where that gets us.

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Love our pediatric dentist.  When the kids were little we did the parent lap visits and then as the kids aged they go back to a big open room that has 6 or 7 hygienists and the parents stay in the waiting room.  However, ds is on the spectrum and has some chronic health issues, he won't always do well in the big room and on those days they come and get me and we go back to the parent lap room for his comfort.  I think the bigger issue is not if parents go back or not, but rather how comfortable you are with your dental team.  Our dental team is wonderful with my kids and are very kind to my foster babies, I know that if there are any issue they will come get me.   

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I love, love, love our pediatric dentist! The entire office is great, but this particular dentist is fantastic.

 

They allow parents to come back and don't care at all.

 

I would not want a dentist that told me I couldn't come back.

I agree. I would shop around. Ask friends, ask your child (ren)'s coaches. Or you could call some around your area.

 

This is what I did. I don't know if it's common, but it is important. My pediatric dentist is 45 mins away.

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I've never felt a need to go back with my kids except for when they were very young.  No idea if it was policy, but that was the case at three different pediatric practices in two states.  My kids have always been comfortable with the dental hygienists and the doctor himself.  They've always returned happy, no screaming, no issues.

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Yes, we've discussed this before. No way would I go to a dentist that didn't welcome me coming back. Even our orthodontist does that.

 

Now that mine are teens, they of course don't want me to come back unless it's something extensive, but that's different.

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Ok. It seems the consensus is most dentists allow parents back with a few exceptions. I must admit they don't prohibit me, just strongly discouraged me from going back. I think I'll switch offices. There are some other practices they do I'm not comfortable with either (X-rays every visit even with no concerns, the way information is given). Thanks for the reassurance!

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I go back with my kids every time - even my 10 year old. (She prefers that I'm nearby anyway).

We now have a new dentist who is a family practice and I find those dentists are more laid back about parents being in the room. That's why I switched. I felt the pedi dentist preferred me out of the way.

I would not go to a dentist who tried to discourage parents going back with kids. I think it should be left up to the parent because he or she knows the child best.

If a dentist tried to pressure me to stay in the waiting room I think I would find a new dentist. I much prefer talking to the hygienist myself and knowing what we need to work on at home. Plus, my kids would rather have me or my husband nearby.

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I'm another who has found this thread helpful. I've long been uneasy/displeased with my DC's pediatric dentist. His office is the only one in town (pediatric), so I went with them upon moving here. They always allow parents back for cleanings. It's a big open room with about 6 exam chairs. BUT, they absolutely refuse to allow a parent during a procedure. ANY procedure. The check up before the last one, my DS age 7 needed a filling. I said his dad would need to go back with him because DS has anxiety. I said he'd do just fine, as long as DH could come. The office staff makes the appointments and seemed quite exasperated by my request. She informed me that they have just a few 'parent' appointments each day and would require the dentist's approval. Ooookaaay... So she called back and asked the dentist and was able to scheduled one. I was irritated, but still got the result I was seeking so went back for the next 6 month appointment. Same thing...DS7 has a cavity, needs a filling. I told the office staff that I needed a 'parent' appointment. She said they were 'getting away from those' but would ask the dentist. I said that yes she needed to because it was a necessity for this DS. She came back and said the dentist said no. WTH?!! I was LIVID. On many, many levels this infuriated me. I'm not confrontational, but I told her in a room full of people 'I want you to point blank tell me that you refuse to make an appointment and allow me to go back?' She said 'yes I guess so'. I said 'then print my kids records'.

Whew...as you can tell, I'm still quite upset. And unfortunately, without a dentist. I guess I have about 3 months to find one. It does help a lot, (a whole lot!) to read your replies and realize that I'm not completely crazy and that my expectations aren't absurd.

I think I might try just a regular family dentist and see where that gets us.

 

We have no nearby pediatric dentists. We hadn't even planned on taking ds to the one he's scheduled at, but the fact that dd went there for surgery and ds is due for an appt. we let them schedule him. It's at least an hour away. Expand your radius. It'll probably be worth it.

 

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