You always want to make your child’s dental visit a positive one!
- As a parent you can prepare and excite your child about their visit buy reading some books or watching cartoons that talk about the dentist. Some books I recommend for parents to read are…. The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist, Dora Goes to the Dentist (Dora the Explorer), Dentist Trip (Peppa Pig), Just Going to the Dentist (Little Critter),
- Before your little ones dental visit give them an idea about what to expect by talking to them in words they understand. Tell them things like the dentist will “count” your teeth, and “look” inside your mouth. Avoid the term “hurt” at all cost! Even if it is saying, “it won’t hurt you” or “it’s not going to hurt.” Dental professionals hate that word because it proposes that there IS SOMETHING in the office that WILL hurt them. This can automatically cause anxiety to your child.
- Another tip is to bring your child to YOUR dental appointment. Let them tag along! This is best to do before their first dental cleaning. I like to recommend parents to bring in their spouse and have their child sit on the spouse’s lap. This way they can watch as mom or dad get their teeth cleaned.Not only will it make the child feel more familiar with the office and staff, it will allow your child to see mom/dad are ok getting their teeth cleaned too!!
- Be a good example for your child and make the dentist a positive experience. If you as a parent have dental anxiety/fears, don’t project them onto your child. Stay positive! That doesn’t mean you have to be over the top, but be upbeat, smile, use a happier tone when talking about the dentist. Try treating the appointment as something that’s positive, simple, and good for them.
- Another tip of mine is I like to encourage parents to bring a comfort item along with them, like a blankie, favorite toy, or teddy. This is a really helpful! I get a lot of comments from parents thanking me for such a great idea.
- Time your child’s appointment properly!! This one is really important. Make your appointment when your child is most rested and in a good mood. Children have patterns of nap times and cranky behaviors during different parts of the day. Try to avoid bringing them when they are hungry or tired.
- Avoid giving your kids sugar or caffeine before there dental appointment!! This may seem obvious but trust me plenty of parents still do this!
- My final tip is to know when to quit! Listen, it’s natural for your little one to get upset or nervous when they sit in that dental chair all alone. They may cry or want to get down and usually this will pass as they get more comfortable. HOWEVER, if your child is screaming or terrified, don’t force the appointment. It’s better for EVERYONE to try it again at another time.
Enjoy the moment and treasure the memories before it’s gone!!!