Having a child afraid of going to the dentist is very normal, so don’t stress if your child is scared. The best thing you can do as a parent is stay calm and only use positive language when you talk about family dentistry. It’s also important to find a dentist that specializes in pediatric dentistry. Here are some tips to help your child have a positive experience at the dentist:
Start dentist appointments between ages 1 and 2 – Finding an office that specializes in pediatric dentistry while your child is between the ages of 1 and 2 will help you have more success with the dentist later. Children who start going to the dentist at a young age are more likely to be comfortable going to the dentist throughout their childhood because it is a normal part of their routine.
Brush and floss their teeth daily – Pediatric dentistry starts at home because parents should be brushing their children’s teeth as soon as they start coming in. Parents must take care of their children’s teeth because their children won’t magically have good dental hygiene. Proper dental hygiene practices need to be taught to children.
Read books about going to the dentist – You can make your child more comfortable with the dental cleaning process before they even go to the dentist by reading books about going to the dentist. When a child is familiar with the dental process, they are more likely to feel comfortable. Books do a great job at outlining exactly what your child should expect when they go to the dentist. Contact your local pediatric dentist if you are looking for recommendations for pediatric dentistry books.
Be encouraging – Parents should avoid any negative talk when they are explaining going to the dentist to their child. There should be lots of positive talk and encouragement around going to the dentist and it will help if you can get the child excited about the dentist. You can get your child involved by having them pick out the clothes they will wear to the dentist and encouraging them to bring their favorite toy or stuffed animal to show their dentist.
Schedule your child’s dentist appointment first thing in the morning or after naptime – Pediatric dentistry is tough, but it’s even tougher when a child is tired. Do your best to plan your child’s dentist appointment first thing in the morning or right after naptime, so they are well rested and less likely to be triggered by the teeth cleaning process.