Tooth + Tusk Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics can help set your kids on the path to lifelong dental health, which is why it’s so important to make sure that their first visits go well. Young children are often nervous or outright afraid of visiting the dentist’s office. However, you can talk to your kids and help them get ready for a relaxing, pain-free dental checkup.
Ask Them What Happens
Ask your kids what they think happens in the dental clinic. Young children absorb all sorts of ideas from TV shows, listen in on their parents’ conversations, and chat with their friends. They may have a pretty good idea or some strange and funny notions. In any case, this will tell you where to start the conversation.
Talk About Dentists the Right Way
First tip: Don’t mention words like ‘scary’ unless your kid already said them. You don’t want to accidentally give them the wrong idea about what happens in the clinic.
Second tip: Think up age-appropriate ways to explain things. Instead of saying ‘we brush to get rid of plaque,’ you can say ‘we brush to clean our dirty teeth.’
Third tip: Have this conversation in several pieces over several days. This is great for very young children with short attention spans. It will also seem like a relaxed conversation and not a stressful ‘Big, Important Talk.’
Tell Them What to Expect
Just like adults, kids can be afraid of the unknown. When you tell them what to expect, step by step, they won’t be so nervous. This is also your chance to talk about any fears they brought up earlier. Some points you can try to hit:
- You and your kid will go to the clinic.
- You may have to wait for a few minutes.
- There will be magazines, toys, and maybe a TV to watch.
- The dentist may see the child alone (for older kids) or you will come in with them.
- The dentist will look at their teeth with a little mirror and ask questions.
- They may clean your kid’s teeth or put something (fluoride) on them.
- After the checkup, the dentist will talk about how to take care of your teeth.
Let Them Take a Friend
If your anxious child has a favorite toy, maybe he needs a dental checkup, too. Explain to your kid that the favorite stuffed bear is coming along. The child will be able to hug their toy and focus on something other than being nervous.
If All Else Fails…
Before the visit, talk about how you’ll treat them with a trip to a new playground or watching their favorite DVD. You can even carry the DVD with you and flash it during the dental visit if the kid is getting anxious. This will remind them of the reward coming and help them focus.
Your Family Dentist
Finding the right pediatric dentist is a big decision. Tooth + Tusk Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is experienced in working with children of all ages. Visit our Tooth + Tusk Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics website or call us today to find out how we can help you.