Preparing Your Child to Go to the Dentist
Going to the dentist can be scary when you are 4 or 40. When we take our children to the dentist, we have to remember that they may be uneasy about going. It is the responsibility of the parent to make the visit to the dentist as comfortable of an experience as it can possible be for a child.
If it the first time that you are taking your child to the dentist here are a few things to ease their anxiety:
- By taking your child to the dentist office before the appointment, they become familiar with the surroundings and are less likely to be scared when they go in for the appointment.
- If possible, call your child’s dentist in advance to find out if you can introduce child to the dentist beforehand. The child will not think of the dentist as a stranger but as a person, they have seen before.
- You can read a book telling your child what happens at the dentist. This is a fun way to let them know what to expect at the dentist in a way that they can understand. They can relate the real dentist visit with the book. (Examples of books: The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain; My Dentist, My Friend by P.K. Hallinan)
- During the appointment, you can ask the dentist if your child can sit on your lap in the chair before getting started. This will relax your child and have them feel calmer. When the dentist is ready to begin, explain to your child that it’s his or her turn to sit in the chair and you will be right next to them.
If you have taken your child to the dentist before, but they are still uneasy about going again, there are a few tips that make the transition of going easier:
- Playing pretend with your child will lessen the scariness of going to the dentist. Pretend to be the patient and have your child be the dentist. This will let them see that you are not scared and that they have nothing to be afraid when they go to the dentist.
- Before going to the dentist, you and your child can draw pictures related to teeth. Your child can associate that the dentist has to do with teeth. They will go into their appointment with less fear because they will know that they have to go do this for their teeth.
- Always talk with your child about what is going to happen when they go to the dentist. Talk to them about who the dentist is and that he just wants to make sure that their teeth are healthy. Explain to them that you will be there the whole time so they do not need to be scared.
Rewarding your child is something you can do after going to the dentist. Avoid candy and sweets. If the dentist offers small toys, let your child pick one out, and always cheer for them when to appointment is over.
After any dentist visit is important to always praise your child. If they know that you think that they did a great job, they will be more likely to be ready to go to the dentist repeatedly with limited hesitation.
The professionals at Burg Children’s Dentistry are waiting for your call today. Make an appointment today.