Going to the dentist for the first time doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for a child. To help your child love the dentist try these five tips.
- Get An Early Start
Don’t wait to take your child to the dentist. As soon as your young one gets their first set of teeth, make an appointment with the dentist. The earlier you introduce your child to the idea of good oral health, the easier time they’ll have adapting to it.
- Make Believe
There’s already a stigma attached to going to the dentist and it’s reinforced in the media. You may not realize that your children are exposed to dental fear through their cartoons. Sure, Sponge Bob’s fear of the dentist is presented in a comical way but it can have a negative effect on your child. You don’t need to ban cartoons but explain to your child that there’s nothing scary about the dentist. With a mirror and a toothbrush you can explore your mouth and then your child’s to show them that teeth cleaning isn’t scary at all. You can even let your child pretend to be the dentist and clean the teeth of their favourite stuffed animal.
- Keep Your Language Light
Don’t use words like “hurt” or “pain” when describing a dental visit. Avoid telling your child about cavities and instead focus on the positive. Talking about fillings or other treatments will only add to your child’s dental anxiety. Explain to them that the dentist is their friend and is simply going to help promote healthy teeth.
- Have a Prior Consultation
Most dentists are willing to accommodate special requests, so ask if you can bring your child in for a consultation. An even better introduction to the dental office can be attending a cleaning appointment with their mother or father. Children learn by modelling their parents behaviour; if they’ve already watched their mum sit in the chair and have her teeth cleaned, they will likely want to do the same.
- Make It Fun
Turn a dental visit into a game to ensure your child remains calm and comfortable. Counting or visual games like “I Spy” are a good way to ease your child’s mind. Start in the car on the way to the dentist and continue the game in the waiting room. You can even tell the dentist about the game and they’ll be happy to play along.
For more information about how to help your child love the dentist, contact Pearl Dental. Remember, happy kids = happy mouths!