7 Tips for Helping Your Child Have a Smooth Dental Appointment

7 Tips for Helping Your Child Have a Smooth Dental Appointment

The dentist can be a scary place for young children. It is an unfamiliar environment with strangers and strange looking tools. It’s not surprising that many children experience anxiety at the dentist’s office. There are a few things you can do to help ease your child’s anxiety and help their dentist appointment go smoothly.

Meet the Dentist

One of the scariest parts about going to the dentist is that your child is being worked on by strangers. It can be an intimidating experience. You can help keep their nerves down by setting up an appointment to introduce the dentist and staff before your child even goes to the dentist for the first time. Meeting the dentist before the first appointment is a good way to relieve some of the nerves your child might experience.

Start Early

Start taking your child to the dentist, preferably a pediatric dentist, from a young age. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that your child starts going to the dentist at about one-years-old. This may seem too early, but going this early helps your child become familiar with the dentist and more comfortable with having dental work done. 

Role-Play

You can help your child become familiar with what will happen at the dentist by playing dentist at home. Pretend to be a dentist and pretend to brush and count your child’s teeth. Let your child pretend to be a dentist on a stuffed animal or doll. This can help them feel more prepared for their first appointment.

Be Positive

Talk positively about going to the dentist. If a child hears that going to the dentist is painful and might hurt, they are going to be scared. When you talk about your dentist, and your child’s dentist, be sure to use positive words. Focus on how the dentist will help them be healthy and clean.

Go with Them

Go with your child to their dentist appointments. Your familiar presence can be a source of comfort for them in this new environment. You can help talk them out of nerves they are experiencing and even hold their hand to help comfort them through the appointment.

Avoid Cavities: Brushing and Flossing

Help your child establish a regular pattern of brushing and flossing. It will help them get used to thinking about oral health. Regular brushing and flossing can help your children avoid cavities which is important.

Sealant

Family Dental Health Center recommends using sealants as a preventative measure to help children avoid cavities. They explain that the surfaces of our teeth that we bite with are full of small grooves that trap food more easily and are more difficult to clean. By adding a thin piece of plastic, sealant, to those surfaces, it can help decrease the number of cavities your child will get. 

Reward

It is a good goal to want your child to have a positive connotation with going to the dentist. Hopefully, their appointment goes smoothly and if it does, or doesn’t, consider doing a fun activity or going to get a yummy treat afterward. 

The dentist doesn’t have to be a scary and intimidating place. Help your child learn to see the dentist as a safe and helpful place.

Categories: Child

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