7 tips for taking your child to the dentist
Taking your kids to the dentist doesn’t have to induce tantrums. Follow these tips to ease your family visit to the dental center and ensure that your children return home flashing their pearly whites:
Making dental care an important part of your child's upbringing will make visits to the dentist's office normal and routine instead of strange and surprising. Make that first appointment when your child gets his or her first tooth or turns one. Schedule regular dental visits every six months. When your three-year-old starts showing anxiety about the dentist, gently remind your child of past uneventful visits.
Choose your words carefully
You may lapse into describing a dental visit as an unpleasant obligation, but the words you use to explain the experience can either create or dispel anxiety for your child. Avoid using words like drill, hurt or needles. Keep the conversation positive and focused on the benefits of good dental health.
Lead by example
Show your children that going to the dentist is no big deal. Invite them to watch as you stay calm and relaxed during your next routine cleaning, or recount your last visit in positive terms. When your children see you going to the dentist every six months and coming home happy, they'll follow your lead.
Choose a kid-friendly dental center
Not all dentists are skilled at treating children. Before you make an appointment, research the center's experience working with children from reviews on Angie's List. The center's dentist should be friendly, patient and compassionate with children, and the dentist should be able to explain dental concepts in a kid-appropriate way. The right dentist will put your child at ease from start to finish.
Make introductions early
Many children are afraid of strangers, and to them the dentist can be an unknown person armed with drills and needles. Call the dental office a few days before your appointment and ask if your child can meet with the dentist early. Explaining that the dentist is a friend and arranging for quick introductions can make your child more comfortable when the appointment comes.
Never trick your child into going to the dentist, and never lie about procedures or pain. If your kid needs a root canal and you say it won't hurt, that child will be even more terrified when he or she discovers that it does. If you can't answer a question, don't guess: tell your child to ask the dentist.
Teach good hygiene at home
Instilling good dental hygiene habits means fewer additional visits to the dentist for your child in the future. Make hygiene fun by brushing to music, using disclosing tablets in a family contest to see who has the least amount of plaque or letting your children choose their toothbrushes in their favorite color.