There is nothing more beautiful than the smile of a child. However, to keep those smiles looking their best and to prevent tooth decay, it’s important he or she regularly visits the dentist.
While it is easy for adults to understand why going to the dentist plays such an important part in keeping those smiles healthy, a young child doesn’t always fully comprehend why it’s so important to go to an unfamiliar location and allow a stranger to look inside and poke around in their mouth.
This is why getting your child ready for the dentist is such an important step in their dental care.
The All-Too-Familiar Dental Anxiety
Having dental anxiety is not limited to children, but children can feel this nervousness to a greater degree than adults. After all, the whole process of visiting a dentist and what to expect from the time in the dental chair is far less familiar to them. Confronting new experiences in life can be a bit frightening for a child.
A child might also have heard alarming stories (sometimes accurate, sometime not) from other kids or even adults in a misguided attempt to be funny. Children are also observant, and if they see or hear adults being nervous about going to the dentist, they’ll likely get nervous too.
Helping Your Child Not Be Frightened out Nervous About Visiting the Dentist
It would probably be going a little far to say that you could get your child to actually look forward to seeing the dentist. However, you can make it a more enjoyable and less nerve-wracking experience.
Start Early: If you begin taking your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears, going to a dental office will feel normal and routine. Your child will develop a friendly relationship with the dentist and staff, thereby making the whole event relaxed and easy.
Teach Your Child About Dental Hygiene: Once your child understands the importance of good dental hygiene and taking care of their teeth, they’ll understand why they need to go to the dentist. This will make it far easier to get them to go.
Play Pretend Dental Visit: With younger children you can help them understand what to expect from the visit by playing pretend. You can play the part of the dentist and show them what the experience will be. Then, just for fun, have your child be the dentist and let him or her take a look in your mouth.
Explain in Advance: If your child is old enough, explain to them in advance what they can expect. They’ll be a lot happier knowing ahead of time what’s going to happen.
Choose a Pediatric Dentist: You may not know this, but pediatric dentists have extra training beyond general dentistry that gives them a greater level of expertise in working with children. The office of a pediatric dentist is also likely to be more child-friendly, with fun waiting room activities and rooms and chairs designed to make the visit as comfortable, non-intimidating, and relaxing as possible.
Introduce the Dentist: Make sure you and the dentist take the time for introductions. Too often, kids are not treated with the same courtesy in this matter as adults are. Make sure the dentist, assistant, and anyone else who will be looking after your child’s teeth say hello to the child and explain their job and what they’ll be doing.
Be in the Room with The Child: The presence of a familiar and loved adult can make all the difference to a child in the unfamiliar situation of having their teeth looked at. So, stay in the room with them as long as they need you to, especially during the first few visits.