Is your child scared of the dentist? Or, were you afraid of the dentist as a child and want to make sure your child grows up being comfortable and confident about dentist visits? Either way, your child needs to have regular dental check-ups just like anyone else. Therefore, it is a smart idea to make sure they are fearless about those visits. A confident child makes dental visits easier on everyone...the dentist included. The good news is that you can create that confidence in your child, and more easily than you might imagine.
Here are three things you can do to make your child love the dentist.
1. Make Dentist Visits a Regular Part of Childhood from the Beginning
You should ideally create an environment where your child never remembers a time when they didn't go to the dentist. You can do this by starting dental visits as early as possible, even before your child has conscious memories. The first dental visit should occur as soon as the first tooth erupts, or by age one at the latest.
These initial dental visits won't be that complicated or long. Your child's dentist will do a routine, minimally invasive exam to make sure the baby teeth are in good shape and developing properly. The dentist will also answer any questions you may have about infant and toddler dental care.
If you bring your child in for their twice yearly exams from the time they are a baby, they will be used to going, and much less likely to be afraid of the dentist. It will simply be a normal part of their routine for them.
2. Tell Your Child What to Expect at the Upcoming Visit...But Choose Your Words Carefully
If your child has not grown up being used to going to the dentist, they may be concerned about their first trip. You can head off any potential fear of the dentist before you even go to the appointment by letting your child know what to expect. Just be sure you use the right words when you're telling them about it and answering their questions.
According to WebMD.com, you should keep your explanation of the visit as simple as possible. Explain the basics, but don't give too many details. Leave the details to the dentist, who will ideally be trained in dealing with children's questions.
Also, avoid using any words with your child that indicate they may experience pain at their visit. Don't tell them about any bad experiences you've had at the dentist, either. Let them go to their first appointment with no preconceived notions, and an open mind.
3. Use a Children's Dentist
Using a children's dentist is usually best for most kids. A pediatric dentist is trained to deal with children of all ages, even very small ones. This type of dentist knows how to handle kids who won't sit still in the dental chair, who fuss and make a lot of noise, who won't cooperate with the exam, and so forth.
A children's dentist will be able to handle any concerns your child may have or issues with their behavior at their first visit much better than you, because this is part of their training in this specialty, and they have a lot of experience with it.
Plus, pediatric dentists usually have lots of toys and games, and even TV with cartoons, in their waiting rooms and exam rooms. These can provide excellent distractions for your child and make them associate a visit to the dentist with fun times.
Children are not born with a fear of the dentist. That is something that is instilled in them by bad first dental experiences or by parents who have issues with dentists and pass those concerns onto their children. You can ensure your child is comfortable with the dentist from the start by following the steps above.
With some good preparation and an excellent children's dentist, you can make your child look forward to those dental visits. Start getting your child ready for the first trip to the dentist today, and produce a child who is always proactive about taking care of their oral health.