Taking children to see a pediatric dentist isn’t always smooth sailing. Sometimes children get scared or anxious, and that is ok! It can be scary for a child if they do not understand exactly what goes on behind closed doors at a dental office. They also may have not been informed about why it is great to practice oral hygiene. As a child gets older, it can be hard to help them change their mindsets, but it isn’t impossible.
There are a few steps that go into helping prepare children for a comfortable visit to the dentist. Of course, it will be easier to go about this process with a much younger child. However, it is never too late to help make the process a little easier for older children.
Choose the right pediatric dentist for them
Sometimes, for a child to get comfortable, they need to be able to walk into an office and feel excited or safe. There are many choices out there for pediatric dentists. A quick Google search can be overwhelming. One way to make this easier is to have your child help pick a place they feel like they would like to go to. It can also be beneficial to meet the dentist before an appointment in order to start building a relationship.
Start when they are young
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child should be taken to the dentist when their first tooth comes in. The earlier you can acclimate your child to regular trips to their pediatric dentist, the better. Instilling the importance of good oral hygiene at an early age will give your child the tools to support lifelong oral health.
Lead by example and be positive
Children love to watch and imitate things they see in their day-to-day lives. Good oral hygiene truly does start at home. When children see their parents or siblings brush and floss, they will be more motivated to follow along. If children go with their parents to their dental check-ups, parents need to be calm and positive. Your child will see how you act and will want to be just like you.
Parents should watch what they say in the presence of their children at all times, especially while at the dentist or talking about the dentist. It is extremely helpful to avoid words like shot, poke, hurt, drill, yank, and pain. Instead, use words like clean, strong, and healthy teeth. There may be times where you get stuck and may not be able to explain situations to your children. In this case, let the professionals introduce their vocabulary to your child to guide them through difficult or potentially painful situations.
Be patient and be prepared
Before taking your child to the pediatric dentist, remember to have a conversation with them. Explain to them that it is safe, normal, and healthy. Also, explain without too many details, what is going to happen and why it is necessary. Being patient with your child will help them if they start to stress out. It is natural for a child to cry or fuss. Parents are always welcome to accompany their child in the exam room. If your child needs it, stay by their side, and help them to calm down. Everything will be ok!
We hope these tips will help create a smooth trip to your pediatric dentist. At New Generation Dentistry, we have a pediatric dentist ready to answer your questions! If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call! If you are ready to make your next appointment, you can visit our website.