Regular dentist check-ups are essential to promote good oral hygiene in children. But a dental visit can be scary for most of the children as well as adults. Children especially do not feel comfortable and welcoming when a stranger examines their teeth using several bizarre instruments while they lie down in front of them. Parents usually try to eliminate the fear but do not achieve much success as they don’t exactly know how to prepare a child for a dental visit. In this article, you’ll find seven amazing tips to prepare your child for a dental checkup so that he/ she can have a no-fear dentistry experience.
1. Start visiting a pediatric dentist early
Table of Contents
- 1. Start visiting a pediatric dentist early
- 2. Explain the importance of good oral hygiene
- 3. Be mindful of your words
- 4. Don’t bribe the child for the dental visit
- 5. Keep the instructions simple
- 6. Roleplay a fake dental visit at home
- 7. Schedule a meeting with the dentist before the appointment date
It’s better if the child starts visiting a dentist from an early age. One of the many benefits of this practice is that the child gets more acquainted with a dentist’s office and regular checkups. Famous dentist Rhea Haugseth, D.M.D, suggests that it creates a ‘dental home’ atmosphere for the child from an early age, and dentists can practice necessary preventive measures regarding any emergency or tentative dental problems. Most dentists suggest taking your child for a dental checkup before their first birthday.
2. Explain the importance of good oral hygiene
Try and explain to your little one that it is an absolute necessity to visit a dentist, and not an option to choose. Explain to the child that a dentist is someone who will ensure that he/she will have healthy teeth for many years to come, and therefore it is essential to have regular dental checkups to have good oral hygiene throughout their life. Also mention that a dentist is someone who ensures their teeth are healthy, away from any dental problems.
3. Be mindful of your words
It’s better not to use any negative words such as pain, shot, etc. while filling in details about their dental checkup. The pediatric dentists deal with many children and their tantrums, so they have their own vocabulary to explain the child about the procedure and methods. So, leave it up to the dentist’s staff to explain the treatment and rather use positive words while describing dental problems such as ‘sugar bugs’ instead of cavities. In simple terms, explain to the child that the dentist is going to examine their smile. That way, their fear or anxiety concerning the dental appointment will be less, and they will be more likely to cooperate during the visit.
4. Don’t bribe the child for the dental visit
Most of the parents have this common approach to dealing with children, i.e., offering something they rejoice like a lollipop or a candy and, in return, expect them to behave well as guided. Many dentists and experts suggest stopping this practice as it sends a wrong message to the little ones. For instance, you promise them a special sweet treat such as candy or lollipop, if they behave well and don’t cry during the dental visit. This only increases the child’s anxiety, thinking that something bad or terrifying is going to happen at the dentist’s office, which will make them cry.
5. Keep the instructions simple
As the date of the dental appointment approaches, your child may ask a lot of questions out of curiosity and anxiety. However, it’s better to merely keep the instructions simple and not provide a piece of detailed information about the dental visit. Always make sure you establish a positive approach towards dental visits. With that said, do not set any false expectations among children that everything will be absolutely fine. In case, the dentist finds out that there is an emergency or a severe dental problem that needs any treatment, then the child might lose trust in your words.
6. Roleplay a fake dental visit at home
Practicing is the best way to achieve perfection in any task. The same rule applies to your child’s dental visit as well. You can pretend a fake dental visit at your home, a few days before the dental appointment. You have to roleplay as the dentist and can merely use a toothbrush to count your little one’s teeth by numbering them. Tell them to lie down and even hold a mirror to demonstrate how an actual dentist will examine their teeth. However, while doing so, make sure that you do not display any other instruments and avoid any drilling sounds, as this may increase their fear rather than making them comfortable.
7. Schedule a meeting with the dentist before the appointment date
Arrange a quick meeting with the dentist before the actual appointment, as the child will be familiar with the dental office, dentist, and the other staff before the actual visit. That will further reduce their fear or anxiety to a great extent. Also, it gives a chance to the dentist to know your child better so they can build a friendly rapport with the child on the day of the visit.
Those were the seven essential tips to get rid of your child’s fear of the dentist and the dental visit. Apart from the tips mentioned above, make sure to educate the child about good oral hygiene and explain the necessity of visiting a dentist to have a healthy smile for a lifetime. Hopefully, these tips help your child have a no-fear dentistry experience.