How to Make Your Kid’s Trip to the Dentist Fun
Going to the dentist is a big fear for many people, with approximately 8% of people suffering from severe dental anxiety, known as odontophobia, and more than 20% experiencing some form of general anxiety!
Much of this is formed in early childhood, and because dental health is a critical element of our overall health, it’s important to introduce dental treatment to children in a positive way. Here are a few ways to help your child view their trip to the dentist as fun and enjoyable.
Choose a Dental Practice that Caters to Children’s Dentistry
Dentists who are experienced in looking after children’s dentistry understand the physical, emotional and psychological aspects of caring for their younger patients.
By using vocabulary that is non-threatening and brings up positive images, the dentist will establish a rapport with your child to build trust.
Having a dental practice that is attractive to youngsters, with bright colours, toys, games, appealing wall art and friendly staff will help your children feel relaxed. At Maudsland Dental Care, we even have screens above the chair so your child can watch cartoons or shows during their visit!
Involving your child in the visit is also important. Showing a child the inside of their mouth is a great way to engage and show them what their own teeth, tongue and gums look like. They can count teeth and see what the different teeth are for. If there are cavities or other irregularities, these can be pointed out to your child.
Dental health can be discussed in a positive, non-threatening way
The dentist should explain in simple terms what will be done and demonstrate instruments before they are used. If a child knows there will be a sucking sound or a whirring noise, it won’t be as scary when the instrument is put into their mouth.
Dental staff who treat children regularly have experience in soothing an anxious child. Let the team guide you in how to handle difficult situations.
For example, you may be asked to hold your child’s hand or have them sit on your lap. In some situations, you may be requested to stand at a distance. If you stay calm and positive, your child will sense that there is no reason for anxiety.
Prepare Your Child for the Visit
Children who are used to going to the dentist will have less fear of an upcoming appointment. Toddlers may express dismay at being examined by a stranger, but if they associate the clinic with a fun experience, it can even be something they look forward to.
Some parents create a pretend play time with dolls to brush teeth or look in the doll’s mouth so the child will know what will happen, and tell the child that the dentist might count their teeth or look at their smile.
Make Good Oral Hygiene a Habit
Parents can begin cleaning the child’s teeth as soon as they appear. If the child is used to the experience, a dentist’s hand in the mouth may not seem as scary.
By explaining how important it is to keep the teeth and mouth clean in terms your child can understand, and by demonstrating good oral health as a parent, your child will see that brushing, flossing and dental visits are just a part of a normal, healthy life.
Here at Maudsland Dental Care, our aim is to provide your children with enjoyable and memorable visits to the dentist for all the right reasons. Call us today on 07 5580 0621, and we look forward to seeing you and your little ones in our practice where your family comes first!