It’s important to get your kids excited about their trips to the dentist so that when they grow into teenagers and adults, they won’t be holding on to any fear or negative associations with dental visits. Cultivating this excitement while children are young requires only a little extra effort on your part, and the benefits will last a lifetime.
- Do Something Fun After the Dentist Appointment. A child is likely to feel a lot more excitement about going to the dentist if he or she knows that something fun and exciting is going to follow it. Reward your child with a trip to the park or a play date with friends.
- Develop a Relationship with the Dentist. If your child has a friendly relationship with their dentist, this can be an important step towards getting your child to feel excited about going to their dental appointment.Try using fun dialogue when talking about the dentist. Tell your child that all their hard work to keep their teeth clean will make the dentist so proud. In the time between visits, use the dentist’s name a lot when speaking with your child: “You get to go back and visit Dr. Currie soon!” Help your child to think of the dentist as a friendly, smart, helpful person, almost like a fun family friend.
- Promote Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits to Make Dental Appointments as Easy as Possible. It is important to ensure that your child has excellent oral hygiene at home for a couple of reasons. First of all, it will avoid a negative experience at the dentist due to a child having to have a cavity filled, for example. But even more than that, a dentist will likely comment on the success of the child’s dental habits, making the child feel good about themselves and therein creating a pleasant experience.
- Speak Positively about Going to the Dentist. Although going to the dentist can instill fear even in adults, it is best to avoid talking negatively about your past negative dental experiences in front of your child as you are likely to transfer this fear onto him or her. Instead, speak positively about it: tell your child how much you enjoy choosing a new toothbrush after the appointment is finished or about how interesting all of the gadgets are.
- Tell your Child in Advance About Their Upcoming Dental Appointment. It is important not to spring a dental appointment on your child at the last minute as this can provoke fear and anxiety. Instead, tell your child a week or so in advance and remind the child at various points during the week. This will give you enough time to make the event an exciting one.
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