The trauma of it will vary greatly by where you go...at all costs AVOID Dr Young (who advertises so heavily). We hated them. Huge impersonal office, looooong wait times, never saw the same person twice...it was awful.
My earliest dental experiences were pretty traumatic--the dentist was great, but his hygenists were horrible. It was a loooooong, lonely, painful experience every time. I dreaded going. I have not had that experience since then.
We really liked Dr Stephen Sachs in north provo (by the mouth of the canyon, kinda hard to find but they'll give you good directions). He has flatscreens in the ceiling and wireless headphones, so the kids can just sit and watch amovie (theirs or yours) during the cleaning--that helped Will to hold still. They are also just really good with kids--Will had a horrible time handling the bitewing x-rays because they poked in his mouth, and so we could only ever get 1-2 shots per visit. they were very patient with him and just did the best they could. They talked with him and helped him and then worked from slightly fuzzy x-rays when he moved, etc. When fillings are needed, they do only white (no metal) so of course I like that. Also he has a small practice by himself, so it's a small office, short wait times, etc. They are very personable and friendly. One time I forgot my debit card for my co-pay, and they said no big deal just come by later or tomorrow to take care of it.
Theo nly thing I did not like about them was that they will fill any little thing they find. IE--I have several little divots in my teeth. They wanted to fill them. My new dentist here went over the x-rays with me and showed me how they were technically holes, but were small, and less than halfway through to the dentin...to fill them, he has to drill down to the dentin to get the filling to stick. Since no filling is as strong as the original enamel, he was hesitant to do that on such a small hole...he was more of the opinion to watch and wait, because some divots never get any deeper....Dr Sachs, on the other hand, watned to just fill them all... A little frustrating for me, but then again you can always refuse to get the filling.......
When I was caling around, most pediatric dentists believed in the knock-em-out principle (at least the ones I called!) and I was NOT ok with that for routine checkups.