A first dental checkup can produce a certain amount of anxiety for young children. This is largely because of the unknown and fear about what might happen. Although visiting a medical or dental office can make anyone uneasy, there are things you can do to help relieve your child’s uneasiness. The following tips might help.
Parents who complain or act upset about a dentist appointment can expect that their kids might react the same way. Display a calm, good-natured attitude about your own dental visits and encourage your children to view this health care service in a similar way. Children often take their cues from parents on how to respond to new situations. Let them know by your words and actions that a dentist visit is a good thing. Before their dentist appointment, stay calm and walk them through what they will expect during your visit. If you are positive and relaxed about it, your children will likely be the same way. Positive interactions with the dentist can help your children feel more comfortable with them as well. Carry on that same positive attitude after the dental visit. Positive reinforcements can help your child build good associates with dental checkups.
Find a Dentist Who Works Well With Children
Look for a family dentist who has plenty of experience in treating children. Dental practices who specialize in family care are used to working with children who may initially be hesitant or reluctant to climb into the exam chair. Pediatric practitioners or family dentists know how to make children feel welcome and comfortable by offering explanations, TV or DVD distractions, and fun dental care packets. Dentists who provide extras to their young patients help kids to process invasive procedures like fillings as just one part of a broader, pleasant experience rather than an uncomfortable focus.
Emphasize the Positives
Parents can work with the dental team to point out the positive aspects of an exam or treatment. For example, you can mention the waiting room aquarium, colorful dental care kits, funny jokes told by the doctor or hygienist, and cute stickers at the end of the visit. For the first visit or two, you might want to precede the dental visit with a fun activity, like stopping by the park playground or visiting the library.
Parents who are supportive of their children’s health care appointments build trust between their kids and the dental office team. Keep every appointment, or cancel in advance when necessary. Refer to the dentist and office staff respectfully. Monitor your kids’ dental care at home to ensure they learn how to brush and floss correctly and consistently. Encourage routine dental hygiene so that it becomes part of their daily grooming activities. When you do these things your children’s nerves about going to the dentist will go away in no time.
Be actively involved with your children’s dental care by setting a good example, finding the right dentist, staying positive, and being supportive. Use the above tips to keep your children feeling comfortable about their dental health.