A visit to the dentist can be very challenging for both the parent and the child. Some children fear impending dental procedures or even basic checkups. However, it is important for kids to keep up on their dental health. If you are finding that your child has some anxiety about an upcoming appointment, try these simple tricks to prepare your kids for a dental appointment:
Talk About It
Most children have a fear of going to the dentist from stuff they’ve seen on TV or heard from another child. Some kids have had previous bad experiences at the dentist, but they shouldn’t be made to feel that every visit will be like that one. Talking about your child’s worries about going to the dentist will help to alleviate some of their tension.
Consider buying a book about going to the dentist for younger children. Also, Youtube and other family friendly platforms have videos that you can watch together explaining what will happen at the dentist visit as well.
Be a Good Role Model
Like all things, modeling appropriate behavior for your children to replicate is just as important here. If you or another adult in your child’s life has an upcoming dentist appointment, take your child along so that they can see you going. Allowing them to see a parent or trusted adult go to the dentist will help them understand that the dentist and their staff are not trying to hurt anyone. Allow them to ask you questions while you are at your appointment and afterwards. Consider asking the dentist if it is okay for them to ask him or her questions as well. Most dentists are happy to help put children at ease about dental appointments and will happily oblige.
Stress the Importance
While you don’t want to add to any fears your child may have about visiting the dentist, you should also stress the importance of having good dental hygiene. Some parents avoid bringing their child to the dentist all together because appointments are so tiresome for both. Yet, not visiting the dentist during these early years can have lasting impact on their oral health. Explain to them as best way possible that brushing, flossing and seeing the dentist for regular checkups will help keep their smile looking beautiful and their teeth strong.
Remember to remind them that taking care of their teeth on a regular basis will prevent cavities and cut down on the number of trips they will have to make to the office.
Job Well Done
Keep the impending visit to the dentist on the light side. Before your visit, help the child expel some excess energy by going to the park to run around or for a quick hike. If they behave or don’t overly fuss, reward them for a job well done by taking them for a favorite treat or for a new toy. Sandwiching the appointment with two positive things will help with keeping the experience enjoyable.
If you have your own anxieties about going to the dentist, don’t pass them on to your children! Help prepare your kids for a dental appointment and ease everyone’s fear!