Must Read 7 Best Tips To Prepare Your Child For A Visit To The Dentist
Dentists are feared all over the world, by children and adults alike. Most people dread that visit to the dentist, and will only do so when it is absolutely necessary (after that agonizing toothache, or when a tooth falls out or gets broken during sports).
Dental phobia is definitely a concern shared by millions of people, and some people will never undergo dental treatment unless they are first sedated.
Therefore, if you have been dreading your child’s first visit to the dentist, you are in good company. It is also safe to assume that your child is not looking forward to that visit either, unless they are completely unaware of what goes on in a dentist’s office.
Either way, there are certain things that you can do to make that first (or second, or third) visit to the pediatric dentist less scary and get them prepared for a lifetime of decent oral care habits.
Arm yourself with information
Knowledge is power, and the more empowered you are, the less intimidated you will feel about that visit to the dentist. Do not just drag your child to the first dentist that comes to mind one morning and expect them to be calm about it.
Take your time and gather as much information as possible on areas of concern. Do your homework on the pediatric dentist you will be visiting.
Ask your family and friends to tell you which children’s dentist is best, and then read up on what to expect once you get there. Knowing what to expect will ease your nerves, your child’s nerves which will help the dentist do what he or she needs to as well.
Prepare your child psychologically
Before that first visit to the dentist, sit down with your child and explain to them what a dentist is, why a visit to the dentist is necessary and what they can expect once they are at the dentist’s office.
Do not lie to your child with the intention of comforting them. Share truthful information about dentists with them, but in a fun way.
Do not ambush your child with the news of an impending visit without properly explaining to them everything they need to know about dentists. There are plenty of resources on the internet that you can download to make the teaching process easier.
Show happiness about your own dental appointments
It is one thing to preach water and another to drink it. Children watch and listen to what their parents do and say. If you have always been negative about your dental appointments, you can be sure that the little one will not be too eager to go to theirs either.
Even though you feel strongly about your dental appointments, resist the urge to make scary comments about the dental treatments or the dentist in the presence of your children.
Even if you’re afraid of the dentist, let your child figure out on their own what their opinion of their dentist is, without your biased input. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that your child does not share your apprehension.
Implement ordered dental care rules at home
If you wish to give your children the gift of healthy, beautiful teeth you should be prepared to be the ‘bad guy’ from time to time. Kids are not always the most diligent when it comes to caring for their teeth so your constant reminders go a long way.
Many kids like to eat sweet sugary things and not brush their teeth afterwards. Sometimes they will want to bring snacks to bed, without realizing the effects this will have on their teeth. As a parent, it falls upon you to ensure that proper dental care starts right at home, and not at the dentist’s office.
In fact, a dental appointment should be one step in a continuous process of dental care that starts at home. And do not just set the rules, set a good example as well. Show your kids that you take proper care of your teeth and they will follow in your footsteps.
Offer comfort when your kid needs it
Let’s face it, however much you prepare your child for a dental visit they might be scared stiff on the day on the appointment. Do not be quick to reprimand such behavior.
Instead, try to remember how you felt on your first visit to your dentist – provide reassurance to your child. Pediatric dentists’ offices are designed in such a way that your child will be delighted when they first walk in, but this might not take away all apprehension. Be on hand to assure your child that everything will be ok.
Prepare a fun outing for afterwards
A good way to ensure your child looks forward to their dental visits is to prepare something exciting to do after the appointment. Your child will be more excited about going to the dentist’s if they know that afterwards they will go to the park to play, or go shopping for some toys. This isn’t bribing, it is just a way of offering an incentive and something pleasant and fun to think about and look forward to.
It does not even have to be anything expensive. Children appreciate little gestures like going to the park, and a little creativity will go a long way.
Try your best to find a dentist who seems really friendly
A qualified pediatric dentist has undergone special training to be able to offer dental care to young patients. As such, a good children’s dentist is not just professionally qualified but must be friendly to the child as well.
Pay attention to how the dentist and the staff at the dental office respond to your child’s needs and fears. If they seem quick to dismiss you and your child’s concerns, that is an indication that you are in the wrong office. If your child gets the impression that dentists are mean people they will be put off for a long time.
If you have been apprehensive about your little one’s maiden dental appointment, it is time to put your fears aside and get to preparing. Only after both of you are ready for that first visit should you make the appointment but once you do, even if you and your child experience a rough start, rest assured the time will come when visits to the dentist will pay off. The results will last a lifetime especially if you make regular visits.