It’s common for children to be afraid of the dentist, but as a parent, you can assuage those fears. Below are some ways that you can make your child’s first – and subsequent – visit to the dentist an overall positive experience. Here’s what we recommend.
1. Pretend Visits With the Dentist
Play “going to the dentist” with your child. As the dentist, introduce yourself kindly, then ask your patient to sit back while you examine their teeth. After a minute or two of a pretend “examination,” do something silly to make your child smile.
Playing in a harmless way shows your child that there’s nothing to fear, and can help put your child in a positive frame of mind. If your child wants to take the lead and play dentist next, allow your child to examine your teeth.
2. Talk About the Dentist in Positive Ways
Your child may absorb some of your own attitudes toward the dentist. If you feel anxious when visiting the dentist, try not to let on!
Make a point of talking about your recent visits to the dentist in front of your child. Use positive language when talking about the dentist, so your child will be able to see that you have good feelings about the dentist.
3. Take Your Child to a Dentist Who’s Prepared
Children do best when they’re visiting a dentist who can put them at ease. Take your child to a dentist who has extensive experience treating young people. Dentists who are prepared for pediatric patients often have toys and special equipment to make them feel welcome.
Often, experienced dentists use humor, kind words and a gentle demeanor to make kids feel welcome. You want that kind of dentist for your child!
To find out whether a dentist is right for your child, call them in advance to ask questions about their experience working with pediatric patients. Find out what they do to help children feel less anxious.
4. Start Visits With the Dentist Early
Younger children often adjust more easily to visits with the dentist than older children. Start taking your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears. To make an appointment, contact Dr. Kenneth Schweizer’s office.