As a parent you set the pace for your child’s pediatric dental treatments. Your child will look to you for reassurance and to help them get ready for the appointment. There are a few things that you can do prior to the appointment to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
Dental clinics for kids are usually friendly places that know how to handle children. Before your appointment you can call ahead and get some additional tips for helping your child through the appointment.
Never Let Them See Your Fear
The fact is no one really loves going to the dentist some people have a literal phobia of the dentist. Whether you suffer from odontophobia (phobia of the dentist) or you feel apprehensive because it is your child having the procedure, never let your child see that fear!
Children look to their parents for cues on what to expect and whether they should be afraid or apprehensive about what is going to happen. Kids have not developed all the filters that adults have. They are fine tuned to your reactions, body language and fears.
Expressing fear or concern can help panic to set in for your child. Stay upbeat and casual about pediatric dental work. You can explain what to expect but use terms that are easily understood. For example, if it is first dental appointment you can say things like “the tooth doctor wants to see you smile”. Simple explanations are always best for children.
Prepare Them with Age Appropriate Books
Reading children’s books about pediatric dental treatments are a great way to help your child relate to their appointment. Choose age appropriate books that are easy for them to understand and that have pictures of “dental exams”.
Of course reading also has the added benefit of spending some quality time with your child. You can also look for online videos that are age appropriate about dental visits.
Kids of all ages do better when pediatric dental treatments are not something, they have no reference point for. Spending some time helping them see that going to the dentist is something everyone does through reading is a great way to get them prepared.
Take Them with You!
If you have enough time you can take your child to your appointment so that they can see how you react to the dental exam and treatment. If you are calm about it, they will understand that this not a danger. Modeling good oral health behaviors are one of the best ways to ensure your child does the same!
It is Worth the Extra Effort
A lifetime of good oral health starts early. Getting your child prepared for their dentist visit and letting them know that there is nothing to fear is well worth the effort. It is an investment in their future health!