Good oral health will affect your child’s quality of life. Both now and in years to come, it’s important for your child to maintain good dental health by brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly. However, some youngsters are terrified of the dentist. This can stem from a fear of the unknown, as well as negative images and stories that the child may have seen. Nevertheless, there are ways to help your child view the dental office as a great place to visit. Here are a few tips to help make your child’s dental visits fun and inviting:
Start the visits early.
Many kids don’t visit the dentist for the first time until they reach school age. By that time, they may have already developed a preconceived notion about the dentist, and it may not be a good one. It’s best to schedule your child’s first appointment before he or she reaches a full year of age.
Your child’s first teeth should erupt around six months after birth. The presentation of those little pegs can be a perfect opportunity for your child to start to receive professional dental care. Over time, your little one will become accustomed to the dental office, making it less likely for him or her to experience dental fear or anxiety.
Make at-home dental care exciting.
If your child views brushing his or her teeth as another chore, he or she is likely to try to avoid it, along with other oral health practices, such as dental visits. Still, you can make brushing fun. Here are a few things that you can try:
- Brush along with your little one. Kids love interacting with their parents. By brushing alongside them, you can help your little ones enjoy dental activities more.
- Set a timer. Setting a timer can make brushing feel more like a game. Not only will your child enjoy the brushing session, but he or she will also meet the two-minute minimum brushing time that dentists recommend.
- Offer prizes. Kids are often motivated by rewards. By offering small toys for a week or two of proper brushing, your child will be more app to view brushing and other oral health practices as fun.
What kid doesn’t enjoy playing make-believe? Children love playing games that involve role play. To prepare your child for a dental visit, try allowing the youngster to be your pretend dental patient. Then reverse the roles. Be sure to offer pretend services that mimic some of the experiences that your child will have at the dental office, such as a visual examination of the oral cavity and cleaning the teeth. When your child does arrive for his or her visit, the activities will seem familiar and less threatening.
Schedule group visits.
A younger child is less likely to feel worried or frightened if an older sibling seems okay. When scheduling visits for young children, it can help to schedule a visit for their older brother or sister at the same time. As a younger child sees his or her older sibling receive dental care fearlessly, the youngster is likely to follow suit.
Discuss your child’s fears with the dentist ahead of time.
If you already know that your child is afraid of the dentist or certain tools or procedures, it can help to discuss the little one’s fears with the dentist before the appointment. This can help prepare the dentist to take additional measures to ensure that your child’s visit remains worry-free.
Watch dental appointments online.
Applications, such as YouTube, offer a large number of filmed pediatric dental visits for your child to watch. These videos can familiarize your child with the examination process and ease his or her concerns. Still, it’s best to preview the videos before your child watches, just to be sure that they display content that is comforting.
Stick around during the visit.
Some parents choose to remain in the waiting room throughout their child’s visit. However, if you feel that your child needs additional reassurance, consider accompanying the little one into the examination room. Many children gain strength from their parents’ presence. It may make the visit more fun if you are there to hold your youngster’s hand as the dentist treats your child.
Our dental office offers a fun and inviting atmosphere for children to receive dental treatment and gain a better understanding of their oral health. Contact our office today to schedule a visit for your child.