Try These 5 Strategies for Making Your Child’s Dental Appointment More Peaceful
- Start now. Establish a ‘dental home’ for your children early (no later than the age of 1 year old). Introducing your child to the dentist at an early age shows your little one that dental care is a normal part of good health and the dental office is a safe place to go when an emergency arises.
- Keep the Pep talk simple. Talk to your little one about an upcoming dental appointment but avoid words that could trigger fear. This could include words like needle, shot, drill, or hurt. You can trust the dental team to explain each step of the dental visit in kid-friendly terms. To prepare your child, focus on more positive words such as healthy, strong, and clean.
- Expect some resistance. It is very likely that your little one may wiggle, whine, or cry as the dentist and assistants begin the examination. It is also likely that you’ll want to step in to protect, encourage, or discipline your child. Instead of stepping in, look to the dentist and the staff for guidance. They can handle the situation with patience and professionalism. Plus, your child will see that you trust the team enough to let them provide the proper care.
- Choose the perfect reward. Your child might want to sweet treat in exchange for good behavior in the dental office. Unfortunately, this may undermine the advice that the dentist offers your child regarding cavities and sugar. Try choosing a non-food or sugarless reward such as a fun outing in exchange for brave behavior.
- Highlight good oral health. Teach your child that the dentist is here to protect healthy teeth and heal unhealthy teeth. The dentist wants to make sure that our smiles are strong and beautiful for our whole lives.