Why exclude parents?

Your child-dentist relationship

A question often asked by parents is why they cannot be in the room with their child during a dental appointment. On some occasions, it may be necessary for a parent to remain with their child but for the most part it is discouraged.

Sometimes , parents being in the room will escalate a child’s anxiety. Child-dentist rapport may be compromised if too much of the child’s attention is diverted to the parent. This interferes with the child’s focus on important instructions from the dentist or assistant. Furthermore, anxious parents in the room may disturb the child and distract the dental team.

Parents may inadvertently say inaccurate things, resulting in confusion and a potential loss of trust between the child and dentist. For example, to foster honesty, we usually advise the child that it is normal to feel some mild discomfort during local anesthesia in the form of a “little pinch”. Unfortunately, sometimes a parent then says “this won’t hurt at all” just as the discomfort is taking place. Similarly, “helpful” parents may try to reassure a child by claiming “just a few seconds more” when the dentist needs lot more time to finish the procedure.

Conflicting information such as this will ruin the precious child-dentist relationship.