Going to the dentist is probably not every child’s idea of a good time. However, there are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your child love going to the dentist. It just takes a bit of preparation beforehand. After all, think back to your first visit to the dentist – wasn’t it a bit frightening and scary? Making sure that your kid is ready, prepared, and maybe even excited to go to the dentist will be greatly appreciated and it will most definitely make the visit go smoother.
Never take your child on his first dental visit to have a check-up, cleaning, or procedure without first letting your child observe the whole process. Since the dentist can be intimidating even for adults, give your child the chance to see what happens before anything has to happen to him. Take your child with you to your next appointment as an observer. Most dentists will pull a chair into the room, so the child can watch the process. This takes the fear out of going to the dentist, especially the first time.
Preparation is Key
When you make the child’s first dental appointment, ask to speak to the hygienist or dentist to make everyone aware of the first time visit. Tell your child in advance of the appointment, so he has time to formulate questions and ask them. A surprise visit to the dentist doesn’t usually end well. Talk about what the dentist will do, what sounds your child will hear, and what kinds of tools will be used. You can even check out books from the public library to increase your child’s comfort level before he has to go.
Try playing dentist office at home with your child. Count his teeth and pretend you are cleaning them while making silly noises. Let your child pretend to be the dentist and work on your teeth. Making it fun can ease anxiety.
Make It a Game
When your child finally visits the dentist, ask the hygienist or dentist to make it a game. For example, some hygienists will pretend the teeth are a racetrack, and the brush is Lightening McQueen. Many children will sit still while Lightening races around the racetrack to get the teeth clean. You can make up silly games with your own child’s interests to make the visit fun.
The Prize Box
Your child will certainly love the prize box. If your dentist doesn’t have one, make sure you take along a small prize or treat once the visit is over. Your child should be rewarded for doing a great job at the dentist. Most family dentists, like Dr. Eli Markovich DDS, have prize boxes in their office so you should be all set to take your child as soon as possible!
If you follow these tips, your child will love going to the dentist’s office and may even ask to go back again!