Whether it’s the first visit or your child has already had several appointments, visiting the local dentist office can unfortunately be traumatic for some children. A parent can help ease a child’s anxiety by following a few simple steps. The following are 5 tips for preparing your child for a trip to the dentist.
1. Lead by Example
Children pay more attention to what you do than what you may say. Many children, especially younger ones, want to take part in whatever they see the adults in their lives doing. Make sure you’re setting a good example by keeping regular dental appointments.
2. Practice Good Dental Hygiene at Home
If you are regularly helping your child brush and floss at home you are already getting him or her accustomed to much of what will happen when visiting the dentist. Having the brush in their mouth will help them get used to simple dental procedures.
3. Start Out Young
While some parents wait until a child is ready for preschool to visit a children’s dentist, many experts recommend starting out as young as age one. The younger a child starts out, the more easily visiting the local dentist office will become a regular part of his or her life.
4. Select Your Words Carefully
Instead of focusing on the negative by saying there won’t be “shots” or it won’t “hurt” much, talk about the positive aspects. Discuss how good it feels to have clean, healthy teeth. If the children’s dentist you visit hands out stickers or other goodies after a visit, include that in the discussion as well.
5. Prepare for Some Resistance
There may be some fussing before the visit and when coming into the office. Even adults can be apprehensive when visiting the dentist so it’s only natural that a child may not always happily go along. Staying calm and comforting your child is important to make him or her feel as comfortable and confident as possible.
If your child has not visited the dentist during the past six months it’s definitely time to call the dentist office and request an appointment. Practicing good dental hygiene habits at an early age will help children stay healthy throughout their lives.