Going to the dentist can be nerve-wracking for anyone, but particularly for young children. By helping your child understand what will happen at their next appointment, you can help lower their anxiety. Here are a few tips:
You should plan to take your child to the dentist by their first birthday. Visiting a dentist from a young age can make the child get familiarized with the dental office.
When you schedule a dental appointment, you should let your child know when you will leave, when you will return, and what to expect while in the dental chair. This will help your child mentally prepare and lessen their anxiety. Also, help your child understand what will happen if they go to the dentist. You can show them pictures of the dentist’s office and get them excited about brushing their teeth. You can also talk about the tools the dentist will use, so they know it’s not scary.
Start by explaining to your child that the dentist’s office is “just for cleaning your teeth.” Children who understand that a trip to the dentist is for a healthy reason may be less fearful.
Use positive language to describe what will happen, such as “the dentist will count your teeth” or “the dentist will brush your teeth.” Avoid describing any procedures in negative terms, such as “the dentist won’t hurt you” or “the dentist won’t pull your teeth.”
It’s normal for even adults to be nervous or anxious at dentists. However, since pediatric dentist specializes in treating children, they have the knowledge and skills to help your child feel relaxed and comfortable.
A kid-friendly dentist will also help to make your child feel comfortable. They may be able to help distract your child from potential anxiety or discomfort with toys or games.
Another best way to encourage kids to keep up with their dental appointments is to model good behavior. If your child sees you going to the dentist regularly and taking care of your own teeth, they’ll be more likely to follow suit.
If your child is anxious about the appointment, talk to the office staff about sedation dentistry options. They may administer nitrous oxide or an oral sedative that will help your child relax during their appointment.
Many kids are nervous and anxious about visiting the dentist, but there are ways to help them feel relaxed in the dentist’s chair. Offer them a reward for good behavior, such as a new toy or a trip to their favorite restaurant. This can help make the dentist’s office a positive experience for your child.
To take care of your child's oral health, contact Grant Gerety, DDS at Warren Clinic Bldg # 7, 4606 E. 67th St., Suite 310, Tulsa, OK 74136. Call us at (918) 493-3031 to book an appointment.