How To Prepare Your Child For The Dentist
For a child, a trip to the dentist can be scary and overwhelming – the unfamiliar faces, instruments, and noises during the experience can cause discomfort and anxiety. And, for a parent, it can be upsetting to see your child in distress. Here are a few tips on preparing your children for the dentist and making your visit more comfortable for you and your child.
What are the Benefits of Regular Kids’ Dental Care?
Just like adults, it’s important that children visit the dentist regularly to help keep their teeth and gums healthy and to develop good oral hygiene habits. At Believe Dental Care, we recommend scheduling your child’s first dental visit when they are 2-3 years old.
There are several benefits of taking your child for regular dental visits:
- Teaches good oral hygiene habits from an early age: Good oral hygiene habits are developed right from infancy. Bringing your child for dental visits can help instill positive dental hygiene habits that will stick with them even as adults.
- Can help with dental anxiety: Children benefit from having many positive experiences with their dentists. Regular dental visits for your child can help them develop a good attitude about the dentist, making it much more likely that they’ll keep up their dental visits as adults.
- Allows oral health problems to be caught early: Dental caries is the most common chronic illness affecting kids. Regular dental visits allow your dentist to detect any signs of tooth decay when it’s still early and easily treatable.
- Ensures healthy teeth development: While baby teeth will eventually fall out, they play a crucial role in developing adult teeth. They form a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to erupt, so when baby teeth are healthy, it’s easier for adult teeth to come in healthier and straighter. With regular dental visits, your dentist can track your child’s tooth development and catch any signs of a misaligned bite.
How to Explain the Dentist to Your Child
The best way to prepare your child for a dental visit is to tell them about the dentist and why it’s important to visit. Here are a few ways you can explain the dentist to your child:
- Use positive language: When talking to your child about their upcoming trip to the dentist, avoid using negative words like pain and shot, and use positive language even if you aren’t a big fan of the dentist yourself. Don’t talk about your past bad dental experiences, and maintain a cheerful attitude. This helps them with their dental anxiety and shows them that there’s nothing to worry about.
- Read dentist-related books: Children are afraid of unfamiliar things, so reading a book that explains what will happen during their visit can be very helpful. Also, your child seeing that their favorite character is going to the dentist can help to reduce any nervous feelings they might have before their appointment.
- Play dentist: Demonstrate to your child what the dentist does and explain why it’s not scary, so they know what will happen at their exam. Afterward, your child can play dentist with their stuffed toys.
- Bring your child on a quick field trip to the dentist and let them see, touch and experience the office before their first visit. This helps to familiarize your child with the setting and make them more comfortable when you visit. You could also bring your child to an older sibling’s appointment.
How Do I Make My Child More Comfortable at the Dentist?
- Bring a familiar stuffed animal: If your child has a favorite toy or stuffed animal, take it with you to the appointment. Having something familiar to hold may make them feel more comfortable, relaxed, and safe.
- Positive reinforcement: Praise and positive reinforcement go a long way in making your child more comfortable about going to the dentist. Rewarding your first dental visit with a trip to the park, toy store, smiley stickers, and big hugs makes the process less frightening for kids.
Pediatric Dentistry at Believe Dental Care
At Believe Dental Care, Dr. Johnson and our team understand how challenging it can be to get your kids excited about dental appointments, and that’s why we’re committed to ensuring they have a positive experience every time they visit our Swanton, OH practice. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!