Preparing Your Kids to Meet the Dentist
Having young children is challenging enough without having to worry about the panic that can come with a trip to the dentist. We love our kids and do our best to protect and care for them. This means regular trips to the dentist to make sure that they are growing up with all the advantages we can give them.
Consider the dentist from the perspective of a toddler. The whole office can look intimidating, and the unfamiliar chair and strange instruments alone are enough to frighten them. It’s important to start introducing the concept of dental care early, and to help your children understand why visiting their East Mall family dentist is a good thing.
Introduce the Dentist Early
Many pediatric dentists are able to provide care for kids as young as one. Prior to this, parents can use small, rubber finger brushes to make sure that gums are being well-taken care of. Good dental care starts at birth, and introducing the dentist early is the key to helping children feel comfortable with office visits.
Talk to Your Child
Starting a conversation with your child about the dentist is extremely important. Help them understand that a kid’s dentist is a special kind of doctor who makes sure that their teeth are healthy. There is a right and a wrong way to explain dental exams to young children. These tips can help the conversation go smoothly:
- Avoid Using Negative Words: Words like “hurt,” “pain,” “shots,” and “drill” immediately conjure up feelings of fear in small children. It’s important to keep the dialogue positive and neutral. While you shouldn’t lie to kids about what to expect, there is no reason to make it more intimidating than it has to be.
- Keep the Dialogue Simple: Trying to explain the complexities of plaque, enamel, and tooth decay to children is confusing. Make sure that you explain it using concepts that are simple, easy to digest, and on the level of your child’s understanding. This helps them to better visualize the experience.
- Role-Play: Let them practice for their first visit by turning it into a game. Children love to pretend and setting up a mock dentist’s office can help them associate the visit with something positive. Try to keep things as close to the real experience as possible. This also gives kids the opportunity to ask questions throughout the process.
Be Prepared for their Reaction
Even the best prepared kids can still get scared. This is natural, normal, and something that parents should prepare themselves for. Most pediatric dentists want children to be comfortable and allow parents to sit in the exam room with them. Sometimes this is enough to offset the fear. When it’s not, it can help to take frequent breaks and to allow the dentist to interact with your child.
Your Pediatric Dentist Can Help
At East Mall Family Dental, our team will do everything we can to help your little one(s) feel comfortable during their visits. We can talk to your children beforehand and explain each step of the exam. A lifetime of good dental health starts with a good pediatric dentist!