It’s normal for children of a young age to be anxious in new situations, such as getting their haircut or starting preschool, and when meeting new adults. But it doesn’t haven’t to be that way for when you take your child to the dentist! Although it may take a few visits for them to fully get used to the dentist, you can do quite a bit to make these appointments much more enjoyable and set them on the path to good oral health in the future. Check out these six helpful tips from your pediatric dentist in Hinsdale for helping your child get ready for their dental visits.
Choose a Good Dental Home
Picking a pediatric dentist is an important decision. After all, you will turn to them to treat your child for routine preventive care, for possible dental emergencies, and for any dental work that they need. You need to choose a dentist and an office where you both feel completely comfortable and where your child is given compassionate and gentle care. Make sure you find a dental home that helps you and your child through these short visits and leaves you both with a smile and lots of confidence.
Your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen by their first birthday. Why? Well, establishing this pattern early on can help your child become accustomed to the dentist, their tools, and the cleaning and checkup process from a young age. That way, they are less likely to fear going when they are older.
If your child hears you talking negatively about going to the dentist either for yourself or for them, they may feel the same way. Try to be positive whenever you talk about going to the dentist to help them associate good things with their visits. For example, avoid referring to shots or pain; instead state that the dentist will help them have clean, strong, healthy teeth.
Explain What Will Happen
Some of the fear that children have is fear of the unknown. If you can explain generally what will happen during their visit with the dentist, they may be better prepared for what’s coming instead of being surprised. But avoid going into too much detail or giving your child false hope, because they may need treatment that you haven’t mentioned.
Distraction can be a powerful tool in helping your child handle dental treatment by helping them not focus on what the dentist is doing. You can try playing a game with your child during their treatment, such as simply counting the tiles on the ceiling or try singing their favorite song.
Offer Positive Reinforcement
Although you want to avoid using bribery all the time, offering an appropriate reward can help motivate them to cooperate during the appointment. Some dental offices provide small toys or stickers to reward “brave” patients. Be careful in how you extend this offer, avoiding negative language, such as “If you don’t fuss or cry, then I’ll give you a treat.” Rather, focus on the positive behavior you’d like from them.
In the end, you can make your child’s dental appointments much more successful and enjoyable, especially for them, by implementing these six tips. As you do, your child can start to realize the importance of these visits for their long-term oral health and form habits that they can continue as they grow older. That way, you and they can enjoy their happy, healthy smile for many years to come!
About the Practice
Brush Pediatric Dentistry has three talented and experienced dentists available to help young patients in the Hinsdale area. They and their staff create an environment in which children always have a great time and can have a dental home, or a place to turn for oral health care and in case of dental emergency. To schedule an appointment with them, you can call (630) 504-2223 or click here.