Trips to the dentists bring anxiety out in many people, children especially.
When children are still young, they often don’t know what to expect during a trip to the family dentist, which causes them to become nervous and fearful. Many of these feelings come as a result of others’ feelings.
As a parent, it is important to put any sore feelings that you have aside about the dentist and make sure that your child knows that seeing a dentist is perfectly normal and safe.
Here are some ways to make your child’s trips to the dentist easier and calmer:
- Teach your child from an early age that oral hygiene is important. Teeth brushing is the most important first step in establishing a positive relationship with the dentist, and it’s never too early to start.
Even before your child has teeth, it may be a good idea to introduce them to the sensation of a tooth brush. Don’t brush hard, but let them become familiar with it. When time comes for them to learn to brush on their own, they may be more receptive.
- Take your child to see a dentist early on. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that a child see a dentist for the first time once their first tooth breaks through or before their first birthday. This way, seeing a dentist will be a more familiar experience by the next appointment, and won’t be as scary.
- Choose a family dentist that you like. The benefit of a family dental practice is that the dental professionals are more familiar with handling children. Don’t be afraid to look around and talk to a number of dentists before you find the right one.
A friendly dentist that you like from the get-go is usually a winner. Showing that you like the dentist will help your child warm up to them as well.
Another benefit to family dentistry is that you can get your whole family’s check-ups done at once!
- Make the trip to the dentist fun. Bring a favorite book to the office to read in the waiting room, or schedule something fun to do afterwards. Make this a regular thing so that your child associates the dentist with fun.
- Never say that the dentist is a scary place. Many parents make the mistake of prefacing dental visits with negative phrases. By saying, “I know that it won’t be fun,” or “Don’t be scared,” you send negative signals. Make a trip to the dentist very matter-of-fact.
Later down the road, for more eventful appointments like a root canal or temporary crown, make sure that you’re transparent with your child. The family dentist will likely give you informational literature about any extensive dental work that will help you and your child better understand what’s going on.
A trip to the dentist doesn’t have to be traumatic. Now, with the introduction of new dental technology, cleanings, X-rays, and other dental work is less invasive than ever before.
Remember that first impressions matter a lot, especially in children, so make sure you prepare your child for a lifetime of proper oral care.