Hi L.. You have alot of stuff to read here. I work for a pediatric dentist. We deal with alot very young children who are afraid, we work through it. If your daughter is really afraid, and all we can get done is a knee to knee, thats all that will be done, if after talking to her for a little bit, we think she'll be ok with a cleaning, we do that, and go from there. We like to see children starting at 1 year old, its more for a parent information session than actually doing anything to the child, other than a knee to knee. If you start early enough, by the time they should get their teeth cleaned, they are so comfortable with us, its no big deal. We don't use sedation for cleanings, other than for special needs children, and that is usually when they are older, and very rarely do we do that. We do see alot of autistic, and special needs children, and we do have to put SOME of them in a papoose to get a cleaning done. Valium isn't a premed we use on younger children, usually only those that are in their teens and above.
With that said, when it comes to doing operative work on young children, we do use sedations. Its so much easier on the child, and they dont' remember the appointment. And yes we wrap them in a papoose, its for their safty, and they feel more secure in it, believe it or not. We get alot of referals from general dentists, and we do get a bad name from some parents, because we get the work done, and they think what we do is mean, but they don't look at who caused the problem in the first place. Its either in our office or in the hospital under general anestesia. Hopefully your child doesn't have any decay, and you can just get her used to the dentist. It shouldn't be a scarey time, at first it may be, but after a few good visits, she will love going. Just stay positive, and it should show her it is fun.