A visit to the dentist can make adults nervous, so it’s no wonder if a child feels scared or anxious about it. Fortunately, there are measures you and your dentist can take to help. Whether it’s a child’s first visit or not, these four tips can help them feel more comfortable with the idea of going to the dentist.
1. Bring Your Child to a Family or Children’s Dentist
Family and pediatric dentists take special precautions to improve a child’s experience. This can include elements like a calming atmosphere, toys in the waiting room and professionals who are good with children. A dentist can use certain language and techniques to improve dental services. In some cases, they may use sedation dentistry, which can be safe for children as well as adults.
2. Be a Good Role Model
As a parent, you have an opportunity to help your child feel at ease. Children may pick up on your hesitancy related to your own dental appointments, so try to show positive reactions to the dentist and focus on how dental visits make the teeth clean and healthy. Also, with a family dentist, you may be able to set up your general checkups together so you can go as a family.
3. Begin Early
Bring your child to the dentist as young as possible, ideally at one-year-old or when the first tooth starts popping in. This gets your child accustomed to the dentist from the start rather than it being an unwanted activity sprung on them later.
4. Don’t Explain Too Much
Before the first visit, avoid telling your child all about the dental experience or trying to prepare them for pain. You could create unnecessary anxiety, and you might make it confusing or difficult if the dentist approaches it in a different manner or the experience turns out differently than you said. An American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry national spokesperson advised parents in Parents magazine to simply say the dentist will “check their smile and count their teeth.” Then, the dentist will have kid-friendly ways to explain the specific procedures the child may need.
At Woodlane Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we have a friendly team that loves to laugh and make each patient feel as comfortable as possible.