Taking your child to the dentist is vital to keep their teeth healthy and promote ideal dental hygiene habits. However, for most kids, it only takes the word ‘dentist’ to send them on a frenzy.
Of course, you want the best for your child, but forcing a fussy child to the dentist’s office can be a nightmare.
To help ease the dentist’s appointment, here are a few things you can do to make them relaxed and comfortable.
Start The Visits When They are Young
It is advisable to take your kid to the dentist as soon as the first tooth arrives. Taking them to dental appointments when they are young is not just beneficial for their oral health in the long haul, but it also gets them familiarized with the dental office. It helps them stay relaxed and comfortable with the procedures and ideally helps build trust with the practitioner.
Also, you will be able to educate them on the importance of dental care while they are still young.
Read Them Dental Storybooks for Children
A fun way to help get rid of the phobia and even get a kid excited about visiting the dentist is through picture story books.
With colorful illustrations and easy to comprehend language, the young one will have a better idea of what to expect at the visit.
Play ‘Dentist’ with The Kids at Home
Before taking your kid to a dentist’s appointment, it usually pays to have a pretend visit first. Let them role-play as he or she pretends to work on your teeth and vice versa.
With a mirror, toothbrush, and chair, it’s easy to set up a pretend dental appointment at home. Walk them through what the visit will be like at the real dental office.
You can even practice pretend activities such as cleaning and counting teeth on stuffed animals or on each other.
Communicate, but Remember to Keep it Simple
You do not want to tell your kid about their appointment with the dentist at the last minute, because they won’t be mentally ready. Keep them informed regarding the visit up front and continue to remind them as the day approaches.
However, limit the details that you tell them and remind them that they can also ask the dentist questions. Ensure you answer any questions they may have by being straight-forward.
Also, don’t say everything will be fine, because if they end up requiring treatment, they might lose trust in you as well as the dentist.
Use Positive Terms
Avoid using phrases such as hurt, painful, etc., when discussing the dental visit. The dentist knows what terms work best when introducing children to dental procedures.
You can ask them beforehand on how to communicate with comforting and safe words.
Telling your kid that you are going to count their teeth, check their smile and help them have strong teeth will make them less paranoid about visiting the dentist.
Use Praise and Not Bribery
Bribery often sends the wrong message to the kids regarding visits to the dentist. Offering candy if they do not cry or fuss can make them wonder why the practitioner is bad enough to upset them.
Ideally, sugary sweets aren’t the way to go when you are trying to teach the child about preventing cavities.
Positive reinforcement in such cases is often better. When they show good behavior, commend them and encourage them with stickers or similar items after a successful visit.
Visit a Pediatric Dentist
When dealing with the oral health of a young one, visiting a pediatric dentist is the best solution. These kinds of dentists have two to three years of specialty training, limiting their practice to working on kids.
Working with practitioners who are trained to work with children lays the foundation of an ideal experience from the infant to the adolescent stage.
Also, pediatric dentists are usually affiliated with other child specialists, thus giving you access to a large network of health practitioners.
Last but not least, you should teach your child the importance of dental health. Brushing on a regular basis, flossing, regular dentist visits, avoiding sugary foods etc.
Teach them that the dentist is an invaluable asset when it comes to having strong and healthy teeth.