For adults and children alike, bi-annual dentist visits instill fear. It can be incredibly difficult to regularly take your child to their dentist appointments when that fear is so deeply rooted. You may be wondering what in the world you could possibly do to avoid that fear? The staff at Smile Reef are here to share some tips that could help your child overcome their fear of the dentist.
Start Scheduling Dental Visits While Child is Young
This is a big one. Schedule your child’s first dentist appointment when they are around one year old or when their first tooth appears. You may find that you are in need of a dentist for a tooth emergency or just for the standard preventative visit, but you want your child to be able to handle the visit for whatever reason, with ease. Getting comfortable at the dentist young will help this happen naturally.
Don’t Over Explain Dental Check Ups
When you are preparing your little one for their first visit to the dentist, be as vague as possible. Try not to share too many details about what may or may not happen while they are at their appointment. Always have an upbeat, positive attitude when discussing the visit, but don’t tell them everything will be fine when there is a potential problem with your child’s teeth. This creates distrust. Although, you don’t want to use words like pain, shot or hurt when speaking of the dentist either. When it comes down to it, use your words wisely and the appointment will have a better outcome.
Role Play a Dentist Visit
A great way to get your child ready for their first appointment is to play dentist one afternoon. Have them lay in a soft chair and use a toothbrush to clean their teeth. You can also count the teeth during this mock appointment. Never pretend to use a drill or shot while pretending you’re at the dentist, but make it fun.
Some Fussing is Completely Normal
If this is your child’s first time visiting the dentist, be prepared for a little fussing. This is an uncomfortable environment for your child and they are bound to feel insecure during their first visit.
Discuss the Importance of Good Oral Hygiene in Daily Life
It is always recommended that you have a discussion from a very young age with your child about the importance of good oral hygiene. Explain to them how important it is to have healthy teeth so they can eat, and that a visit to the dentist isn’t a choice, but a necessity. Use words they can understand in trying to help them feel more comfortable with oral hygiene.
If you follow the steps above, you are setting your child up for the best dental appointment you possibly can. Even when you follow these tips, your child might have a hard time at their first appointment. The friendly, skilled dentists at Smile Reef will do everything in our power to ensure your child has a successful visit with us. Call us today to schedule your child’s first or next dental appointment.