Taking your young child to the dentist can sometimes be a real struggle for parents. Maybe your child has had a previous experience that was less-than-enjoyable, or maybe they are afraid of going to any doctor or dentist for that matter simply due to fear or anxiety. Whatever their reason may be, it can be challenging on you, the parent, to schedule appointments and feel comfortable with the experience for your child. The best way to help your little ones overcome their fear of going to the dentist is to help prepare them for their next visit by practicing some of these tips.
Start Them Out Young
We know this one may not apply to you if your child is 7-8 years old, but if you have 2 or 3 year olds, this may be the first step you want to take to help ease them into the experience of visiting the dentist more regularly and comfortably.
Be Positive When Discussing the Upcoming Appointment
Positivity helps in just about every situation in life, so it is no wonder that this is the second piece of advice we recommend when helping to prepare your little one for their dental appointment. When discussing the upcoming appointment with your child, avoid vivid details as this tends to overwhelm them. Let them know the benefits of going to the dentist, and instill a positive idea about the dentist in their mind.
Most parents understand the art of avoiding frightening words as they are likely already doing this when talking about other topics with their kids. Do not use the words shot, hurt, pain or any other word that might increase their anxiety. Allow the staff to introduce words that help the child make sense of what is going on. Since we are a kid-friendly dentist office, we use all kinds of words to lessen their fears and help them understand what is going on more easily.
Use Your Imagination
Get a little creative with your child and play pretend dentist with them. Give them a little mirror and use their toothbrush to count their teeth, show them the proper way to brush and let them watch as you do this. This gives them an idea of what it will be like when they have their own appointment.
When your child understands that going to the dentist helps with your overall wellness, they will be able to associate the experience as a positive one with a benefit. Show your child how important oral health is by leading by example with brushing and flossing. Let them know how good your teeth always feel after a trip to the dentist for a cleaning so that they make look forward to those same results with their own visit.
We know that going to the dentist can be an anxious time for your little one, but if you can practice a few of these tips, we are sure that they will feel much better about coming in to see us! We hope that you will let Dr. Lordo and his amazing team be your pediatric dentist in Worthington!