Your First Visit
Our goal is to make your visit to us as stress-free as possible. Here is some info to help you prepare for your upcoming appointment at Barkley Pediatric Dentistry in Fort Myers.
What to Expect at
Barkley Pediatric Dentistry
Your child’s first visit is an opportunity to establish their ‘Dental Home.’ The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommends that this occur by one year of age. A dental home will give your child the preventative and routine oral health care they need.
There are a few things that you can do, as a parent, to make sure that their first visit is as positive and comfortable as possible. Please allow our team to explain treatment and procedures along the way. Avoid words that may cause unnecessary fear like ‘needle,’ ‘shot,’ ‘pull,’ ‘drill,’ or ‘hurt.’ We explain procedures in a child-friendly way to minimize stress. If you need any tips here, just let us know!
For your child’s first visit, we do invite you to stay with them. After that visit, we recommend that you have your child experience future appointments on their own. This will help us build a friendly relationship with your child so that they feel comfortable with our team, confident in receiving dental care, and, hopefully, overcome any apprehension. At the end of the appointment, we will give you an update on their dental health and any other necessary information.
Please be aware that if any children come with you to the appointment and are not being treated, they should remain in the reception area with an adult for the safety, privacy, and comfort of all our patients.
Lastly, before you come to see us, you can save time by completing the patient forms electronically. You can also use these forms to update your information each year.
We understand that some children feel anxious when they come to see us. Our goal is to provide your child with the best dental care in an environment where they feel comfortable and safe. Our team will work with you on creating a customized treatment plan so that your child has a positive experience each time they visit our office. This plan may include sedation to help relieve stress and discomfort. Below we have information on the types of sedation we offer.
What you may know as ‘laughing gas,’ children are given a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen to help them remain calm while receiving treatment. This combination of gases is given through a small breathing mask placed over a child’s nose, helping them relax. This is recognized as a safe and effective treatment by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as it is mild, non-addictive, and quickly eliminated from the body. During this treatment, your child will remain fully conscious and keep all natural reflexes.
Nitrous oxide is great for a mildly anxious patient or any patient with a sensitive gag reflex. Your child may resume normal activities after their nitrous oxide appointment.
Avoid food or drink for two hours prior to your appointment. Before your appointment, let us know of any changes to your child’s health or medical condition. This includes any respiratory changes that could make breathing through their nose difficult, making the nitrous oxide less effective. Also, let us know all of the medications your child is taking when you arrive. This includes prescribed, over-the-counter, and herbal medicines.
As nitrous oxide is quickly eliminated from the body, your child may resume normal activities that day. It is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water after their appointment.
We may recommend conscious sedation for children who are moderately apprehensive, at a young age, or have special needs. Conscious sedation, done in conjunction with nitrous oxide, further reduces your child’s anxiety and discomfort so that they can remain calm. During treatment, your child may become drowsy and fall asleep, but most kids remain awake. For conscious sedation, various oral medications are used. A doctor will recommend the best option based on your child’s health history. The conscious sedation medications are administered orally in our office. The medications take about 30 minutes to take effect during which time your child will be with you in a designated area of our waiting room.
Let us know of any changes to your child’s health or medications. This includes prescribed, over-the-counter, and herbal medicines. If your child has a fever, ear infection, cold, or other illness, contact us as it may be necessary to reschedule their appointment. Also, let us know your child’s medications when you arrive.
Your child should not eat or drink after midnight the night before the appointment. Before arriving at our office, dress your child in loose, comfortable clothing and be sure they have used the bathroom. Additionally, please remove nail polish from all fingers prior to the appointment. Once they have taken the conscious sedation medication, monitor your child and keep them close to you.
After their appointment, your child will be drowsy and need to be monitored. It is okay to let your child sleep; just be sure to keep them on their side with their chin up. Keep your child hydrated. It is recommended to give your child clear liquids at first to prevent nausea. Make sure they eat something light and easily digestible, like broth, Jell-O, apple sauce, or smoothie.
If we used a local anesthetic to numb your child’s mouth, you might notice your child biting or chewing on their lips, cheeks, and/or tongue, and/or rubbing and scratching their face. This is typical behavior, and we recommend that you keep a close eye on your child to prevent any potential injury to these areas. Remind your child to not bite or scratch any numb areas. If you have questions or concerns at any time, do not hesitate to contact our team.
We recommend outpatient general anesthesia for children with high anxiety, who are young, or have special needs and cannot be treated safely in our office, or for those in which conscious sedation has been ineffective. General anesthesia will put your child to sleep and is performed at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Myers, Florida. All of our pediatric dentists are on staff at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
One of our team members will provide you with a checklist of pre-op responsibilities. Most importantly, this includes a physical exam form that needs to be completed within one week of the scheduled procedure. A hospital staff member will also be in touch with you in the week leading up to your appointment.
The night before the appointment, your child cannot have milk or solid food after midnight and should have clear liquids ONLY – water, apple juice, Gatorade – up to 6 hours before their appointment. Your child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the hospital in the waiting room during the entire procedure. You will have an opportunity to meet with the dentist and ask any questions on the morning of your child’s scheduled hospital appointment.
After their appointment, your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored. It is okay to let your child sleep; just be sure to keep them on their side with their chin up. To prevent dehydration, wake your child every hour to take a drink. It is recommended to give your child clear liquids to prevent nausea. If they are hungry, make sure their first meal is light and easily digestible. If your child throws up, help them bend over and turn their head to the side, so they do not inhale the vomit.
Before you leave the hospital, the dentist will meet with you and review post-op instructions. You will also be given a detailed list of post-care instructions by a hospital staff member.
We know that accidents happen, and, at some point, you may experience a dental emergency. Below are some common incidents that may occur and some steps you can take. For a serious dental emergency, take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room. This includes any accident that involves a head injury or a possible fractured or broken jaw. Once your child has received medical treatment, please call our office to schedule a follow-up with a pediatric dentist.
Cleanse the affected area around the tooth by having your child rinse their mouth with warm water to remove any debris. A cold compress can be used on the applicable cheek to help reduce or minimize swelling. If the pain continues or increases, contact our team.
It is important to stay calm and react quickly by applying firm pressure to the area to control bleeding. Once bleeding is under control, look to see if there is any debris or swelling, then gently clean the area and apply an ice pack to reduce swelling. If you cannot get the bleeding under control, call our office immediately or take your child to the nearest emergency room.
If you can find the tooth, be sure to pick it up by the chewing surface, not the root. Rinse the tooth with water and reinsert it into the tooth socket using a soft cloth to hold it in place. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, preserve it in a cup with your child’s saliva or some milk and contact our office immediately.
Do your best to keep your child calm and apply pressure to the area with a clean cloth. If possible, apply an ice pack to the area or have your child bite down on a cold compress. We do not replant knocked out baby teeth, but we do recommend a follow-up visit at your earliest convenience.