Taking your child to a children’s dentist on a regular basis is important for avoiding tooth decay and helping your child to establish good dental hygiene habits that will last into adulthood. Even so, many children often experience anxiety when the time comes to visit their local dentist office. Below, we explore tips to help you and your child manage anxiety when visiting the dentist.
First, keep in mind that the earlier you begin bringing your child in to see a pediatric dentist the better. Doing so will give your child a home dental office where all of his or her dental needs can be handled, including getting started on the path to good dental hygiene. Contact your local dentist office to request an appointment for your child’s first visit by age one or when his or her first tooth becomes visible.
Taking your child to a children’s dentist is an excellent way to help control anxiety. A dentist specializing in providing pediatric dental services is more likely to have a kid-friendly environment with child-appropriate pictures, toys, and games that will make it easier for your child to relax.
Remember that most children tend to be less anxious when they know what to expect. Providing information about what the dentist and dental assistant will be doing can help tremendously in terms of alleviation anxiety. Using developmentally appropriate language is also important rather than relying on complicated explanations. Parents may find it helpful to explain to their child that the dentist will be counting their teeth and checking their smile.
When preparing your child for his or her first dental appointment, remember to remain positive. Your child will take his or her cues from you, so maintain a positive attitude. Do not introduce negative words into the conversation, such as shot, pain, or hurt.
For a child who is particularly anxious about visiting a children’s dentist, it may be beneficial to encourage him or her to follow a deep-breathing exercise. Bringing along a bottle of bubbles and asking the child to blow bubbles using the wand can serve a two-fold purpose of distracting the child while also producing the same effect as deep breathing exercises.
While parents are waiting with the child in the waiting room to be called for their turn, it is a good idea to focus on activities that will distract the child. Consider bringing along your child’s favorite book to read while waiting.