We all know that regular dental check ups are an important part of maintaining a healthy smile and mouth. However, it usually isn’t high on most people’s “want to do” list, and can be even less so on your child’s! Whether your child is a little nervous or very afraid to visit the dentist, here are a few tips to help make their visit to the dentist more positive.
It is recommended that your child see a dentist when their first teeth begin to erupt, between ages 1 and 2. A big way to help prevent a child’s anxiety about going to the dentist is to start regular dental visits before any dental problems, like a cavity, arise. With regular visits to the dentist, your child will get into the routine of seeing the dentist regularly and the dentist can stay on top of any potential problems before they get bigger and more painful to address.
Do a “Meet and Greet” type of visit for their first time at the dentist
You can bring your child to the dental office before their actual appointment. They can meet the staff, see the office, see where they will sit and maybe even choose a prize! This is a way to introduce the office and staff to your child without doing too much, too soon. When they come in for their appointment, they will already be somewhat familiar with what to expect and it will be less overwhelming for them.
Be willing to sit in the chair with them
Having a child sit on Mom’s lap while she sits in the chair, can make all the difference in creating a positive experience for a child. Let your child watch the dentist “count” Mom’s teeth and then take their turn.
Try not to talk too much
It is tempting to try and comfort your child by talking and explaining everything to them. But sometimes it’s better to resist and let the dentist do the talking. This will help your child be at ease with the dentist and build a better rapport with them.
Try to schedule your child’s appointments with the same Hygienist each visit
The hygienist is often the one who will handle most of your child’s routine check up. If they know who they will see, that can help an appointment go more smoothly. For younger children who are often nervous meeting new people, seeing the same person each time can help build a sense of trust and set them at ease as to what they can expect.
Be aware of how you “talk” about the dentist
Try to forget your own scary dental experiences, certainly do not share them with your child. The same goes for siblings sharing their thoughts about going to the dentist. Make sure everyone remembers to keep all of the talk positive and light. Another thing to watch for is saying: “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt!” Often the only word that your child will hear is, hurt. Check-ups and the vast majority of first visits are pain free, so try not to even introduce the concept of pain with going to the dentist.
It is possible to set your child off on the right foot with positive dental experiences and it’s a lot easier than trying to “fix” a negative experience. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in this situation. Being aware of any fears your child may have before the appointment and doing all you can to help set the stage for a positive, fun experience will go a long way.
At Primary Dental, in Wheat Ridge, we treat you like family. We have a kid-friendly dental staff and rooms with TVs to help your child have a comfortable experience. Contact us today for an appointment.