So you looked at your calendar and realized that your child’s next dental appointment is coming up. Now, you are trying to mentally prepare both yourself and your child. How can you help ease your child’s anxiety and make this visit fun? There are lots of ways parents can help prepare their child for a dental visit, and believe it or not, parents can actually have the most influence on how their child will feel about their trip to the dentist.
What can you do to help make your child’s visit a great experience? We have some tips for you below.
~ Talk to your child. Explain to your child what a dentist is and why it’s important to take care of his/her teeth. Let them know what they can expect, such as the dentist looking in their mouth, brushing and flossing and even taking x-rays. Make sure that they know that the dentist is there to help them keep a beautiful smile.
~ Avoid negative words and talk. You may have had a painful toothache or have had extensive work done on your teeth, but try not to talk to your child about negative dental experiences.
~ Prepare with fun dental accessories like character toothbrushes or toothpaste. Kids love seeing their favorite characters, like princesses or cars, on their toothbrushes or toothpaste. If using a Trolls toothbrush makes brushing easier, by all means, use a Trolls toothbrush! Just make sure to choose items that have the ADA seal of approval on them to ensure safe and effective ingredients.
~ Read about the dentist. There are many great children books about visiting the dentist. Seeing their favorite characters successfully visit the dentist can help alleviate a child’s fears about their visit.
~ Watch a show. Again, there are great cartoons that focus on visits to the dentist. We have seen Barenstein Bears, Doc McStuffins, Mister Rogers, Bubble Guppies and several other popular cartoons that focus on visiting the dentist.
~ Encourage. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Always tell your child how proud you are of them and what a big, brave boy/girl they are. New experiences can be scary and anytime they handle it well, we want to offer praise and encouragement.
~ Crafts. Pinterest and the internet are loaded with great dental-themed crafts. Many of these are also educational and can be used to help teach your child about dental health, brushing, flossing, etc. They are great boredom busters, but also, a great way to make dental visits seems less intimidating and more fun. Have your child make a dental craft and bring it in to the office to show the team!
Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wants both parents and their children to always feel safe and secure, respected and well cared for. If you have an upcoming visit and your child is experiencing anxiety, we are here to help ease the fear. Our goal is to help children have fun at the dentist. After all, we think we are kind of fun to be around! If you have questions or concerns about an upcoming visit, or would like to schedule your child’s first or next visit, call us at 864-760-1440. Let us give you and your child Something to Smile About!