7 Tips for Taking Your Child to the Dentist
Taking your child to the dentist may cause a bit of anxiety for both you and your child. But, it doesn’t have to. There are may tactics you can employ to make going to the dentist exciting and fun, plus eliminating any fears. Here are seven tips for taking your child to the dentist.
1. Start dental health early
Start brushing your child’s teeth early. No toothpaste is even necessary for very young children. If you are using toothpaste, consider a non-fluoride version, especially for very young children. Getting your child used to have a tool in their mouth could be advantageous when the time comes to go into the dentist office.
2. Talk it out
Begin a dialog early about the dentist. If your child likes listening to you tell stories, try to remember funny stories about visiting your dentist. Encourage your child to ask questions. As you talk, be nonchalant and emphasize how amazing your teeth look and feel after visiting the dentist. Explain how important it is to take care of your teeth in a humorous way, be creative, and have fun with it!
3. Read to your child
Try to find books that tell stories of kids going to the dentist, or about a funny person who is a dentist, or a story that has an amusing tale about someone going to the dentist. If you are always relaxed about the subject of the dentist, it can help to humanize the dentist, and make an intimidating experience approachable. Reading to your child will also serve to educate him, and at any age, knowledge is power!
4. Opt for a pediatric dentist
Although it may seem tempting to take the whole family to the same dentist, a pediatric practitioner brings extra expertise and experience to the situation. They will have an extra two to three years training for this special population. Additionally, these offices are usually outfitted with things to make the visit relaxed and fun: stuffed animals to hold, videos projected on the ceilings, even sunglasses to wear to alleviate the brightness of the light.
5. Try to make a pre-appointment visit
If possible, schedule an appointment to visit the dentist prior to the actual exam. Allow your child to go in to the exam room and sit in the chair. Introduce him to the doctor and staff. Have one of the hygienists to a practice exam by using an instrument to count your child’s teeth. Show him around the office. Do as much as you can to make the office as pleasing as possible.
6. Be honest
Encourage your child to ask many questions, and most importantly answer honestly. Now, we don’t recommend brutal honesty, but do not lie. If you child asks if it hurts, tell the truth, in a caring way. Show compassion and relate to your child’s fear. Remember no question is silly and all questions could actually be pretty informative as to what is going on in your child’s mind.
7. Allow for a reward
Do not consider this a bribe but a special honor for amazing bravery and good behavior. Many dentist offices already have treasure boxes filled with little trinkets. This will suffice as a special treat for cooperating. Consider getting a cool new toothbrush or fun toothpaste. Carrying over the positive experience into your home could make for a pleasant revisit for the next check-up.
Tooth Fairy Smiles specializes in pediatric dentistry. We are dedicated to the oral health of children. We have special training to work on a variety of issues in young, developing mouths, as well as any special patient needs. Tooth Fairy Smiles is qualified to care for your child and their teeth. The best part of our job is educating young minds on how to develop good oral hygiene habits. We love to inspire them to enjoy visiting the dentist.