While a certain amount of anxiety is normal at any age, going to the dentist is an important part of great oral care that doesn’t have to be so stressful. With a little help from parents, a kid can have a very positive and rewarding visit to the dentist’s office. If your child is afraid of the dentist, or hasn’t visited the dentist yet, here are some tips for taking fear out of the picture.
Take Them to the Pediatric Dentist
As opposed to your general dentist, the pediatric dentist’s office is geared towards making sure that your child is comfortable. It’s a positive environment designed to keep your kid happy (and a bit distracted) and the staff and dentists there are specially trained to work with young patients. Your Mesa pediatric dentist has extra training and a passion for making sure your child’s visits are comfortable and productive.
The ADA recommends that your child’s first visit should be before her first birthday or when her first tooth is visible. Starting at such an early age will also make the whole process seem normal before any negative ideas surrounding dental check-ups creep in.
Read Books About the Dentist
There are a lot of books for kids about going to the dentist that give a good outline of what happens during visits. Look for your child’s favorite characters, such as SpongeBob Squarepants or Dora the Explorer and read them together. This will help your child see that going to the dentist is not really a big deal.
Try playing “dentist office” with your kids to help them become familiar with what happens in the dentist’s office so they can prepare themselves for the visit. You can set up a pretend dentist’s chair in the living room and pretend to look inside your child’s mouth and count teeth. You can also talk to your child about how the tooth polisher brushes teeth up nice and clean, and thank your child for the “visit” afterwards.
Keep in mind that it is perfectly normal for children to be somewhat fearful. After all, it’s an unfamiliar place where they may be separated from their parents. Following these tips can help children deal with their anxiety better and make for very rewarding experiences. That helps encourage a lifetime of healthy habits.