Going to the dentist is certainly no child's idea of a good time. However, there are some things you can do to help your child ease their fears and feel better about their visits with the dentist.
Observe First: Never take your child on his or her first dental visit to have a check-up, cleaning, or procedure without first letting your child observe the whole process. Since the dentist can be intimidating even for adults, give your child the chance to see what happens before they even have to sit in the chair. Take your child with you to your next appointment as an observer. Most dentists will pull a chair into the room, so the child can watch. Knowing what's going to happen beforehand, will help your child feel more confident when it's time for their check-up.
Preparation is Key: When you make your child's first dental appointment, ask to speak to the hygienist or dentist to make everyone aware that this is a first time visit. Let your child know about the upcoming appointment so that he or she has time to formulate questions to ask. Be prepared to answers the questions that you can, and assure them that the dentist will be able to answer anything questions that you're not able to cover.
Playing Pretend: Try playing dentist office at home with your child. Count his or her teeth and pretend that you are cleaning them while making silly noises. Remember to let your child take on role of dentist and work on your teeth as well. Making it fun and even a little silly, can ease their anxiety.
Make It a Game: When your child finally does visit the dentist, ask the hygienist or dentist to make it fun. For example, some hygienists will pretend the teeth are a racetrack, and the brush is Lightening McQueen. Many children will sit still while Lightening races around the racetrack to get the teeth clean.
The Prize Box: Your child will certainly love the prize box. If your dentist doesn't have one, make sure you take along a small prize or treat for him or her for when the visit is over. Rewarding your child for their visit to the dentist will give them something to look forward to, making future appointments a little easier to get through!
For more tips on how to manage your child's oral care, click here.