If you have a child who’s nervous about seeing a dentist, you can find ways to make the visit easier on him or her. Seeing a dentist is important for life-long oral health, and children can learn ways to overcome their fears of going in for checkups. Here are a few of the best ways to make going to the dentist less scary for your child.
Start Going Earlier
The earlier in life that your child starts seeing a dentist, the likelier that he or she will be able to overcome fears faster. According to Colgate, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should go to their first dental appointments by the age of one. This makes it easier to catch cavities and other dental problems early on before they develop into bigger issues. Your son or daughter will also be able to learn good at-home dental care habits from an early age.
Find a Pediatric Dentist
Some dentists specifically specialize in children’s dentistry and are able to better identify concerns that affect young patients’ teeth. Some pediatric dentists, like a dentist in Channahon design their offices to be attractive and customer-service oriented. Some offices are very kid-friendly and include colorful decorations throughout their facility and toys to play with in their waiting areas. These dentists are further likelier to be more patient with children who have difficulty receiving care.
Read Children’s Books
Many books have been written to help children overcome their fears of seeing a dentist. Many of these books include colorful pictures and clever stories that are great to read to kids. You may even be able to find popup books or electronic books that come with interactive features.
Be by Your Child’s Side
If your child is particularly young or is especially afraid, you can stay in the exam room throughout the appointment. Knowing that you are near will help your child relax and feel assured while the dentist performs the exam, cleaning and other necessary treatments. However, you should refrain from talking too much to your little one or interfering with the dentist’s work.
Lead by Example
Going to the dentist regularly yourself is a great way to lead by example for your child. If your child sees that you are going regularly, he or she will have an easier time accepting it is a normal part of life and will probably be more inclined to visit a dentist. You should also emphasize the point that your dentist’s visits are not scary and are necessary to help you maintain your beautiful smile.
Play Pretend Dentist
Children love to play pretend games, and acting out a visit to the dentist’s office is a great way to calm any nerves. You can set up a pretend dentist’s chair in your kitchen or living room and use a flashlight to perform a mock oral exam on your kid. While doing this, you should explain what the dentist will be looking for so that your child will be more informed about the process.
Offer a Reward
You can offer your child some type of reward for good behavior at the dentist’s office. If your child knows that there is some type of reward in the end, he or she may be less fearful and less likely to act up on the day of the appointment. You can try offering your kid a new toy or video game or going out for a special day of fun as a reward. You should refrain from offering your son or daughter a sugary treat that may cause cavities and other dental problems.
Seeing a dentist doesn’t always have to be a scary ordeal for children. If you take the time to research pediatric dentists and find creative ways to calm your child’s nerves, you can make the time spent at the dentist less stressful for both of you.