Many children dislike going to the dentist. As in, really dislike going to the dentist! They are worried about getting a shot and feeling pain. Having to sit in the dentist’s chair with their mouth open for several a minutes a time isn’t all that easy, either. What’s more, the dentist is poking and prodding in their mouth with tools that make some pretty loud noises.
While some children are very afraid of going to the dentist, most just don’t like it and feel uncomfortable going. Still, most kids are troopers and go the dentist relatively willingly.
But what if you could make a visit to the dentist fun? It is possible. Take a look below for four ideas on how to do so.
- Don’t wait; start young.
Your child should visit the dentist at least 10 times before starting kindergarten. This is to ensure that her milk (baby) teeth come in well and allows your dentist to treat any issues as they come up.
In fact, it’s best if you bring your child to the dentist as soon as that first milk tooth erupts, and definitely by the time your child reaches her first birthday.
Starting young not only ensures that your child’s teeth receive the care they need, it also helps your child look at the going to the dentist as a routine part of her life.
- Visit the office before the official visit.
Let the office staff give your child a tour of the facilities. Look at teeth x-rays, play with the tooth models, sit in the dentist chair, talk to the dentist and his staff. Doing this can go a long way toward helping your child look forward to seeing his new friends.
- Be positive, but don’t lie.
Don’t provide too many details about the dental visit, particularly if it’s your child’s first time seeing a dentist or if your child will be getting a cavity filled.
Talk about how the dentist will help keep your child’s teeth white and shiny and that he’ll be wearing a coat like her friendly pediatrician.
Keep a positive attitude but do not say everything will be fine or that nothing will hurt because your child could lose trust in you and your dentist if it turns out that she does need some type of treatment. Still, you shouldn’t use words such as pain, shot or hurt, as this can cause undue anxiety in the child as she anticipates these sensations.
- Try to schedule the visit before a special and fun activity.
Remind your child that you will be taking her there right after her visit with the dentist and how much fun all of you will have.
Scheduling all dental visits before a special, fun activity can help your child associate going to the dentist with the activity. Going to the dentist will be just a speed bump on the road to entertainment.
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