Many adults have severe anxiety about going to the dentist and if you fall into this category, how are you supposed to convince your kids that going to the dentist is fun? Even if you dread those appointments or avoid making them altogether, it’s important to set the right example and help your children develop a healthy understanding of the importance of good oral hygiene. For more information about the top pediatric dentist in Glendora, meet the team at Glendora Family Dentistry.
Here are five tips you can use to make going to the dentist more fun for your kids.
Start Them Young
Many new parents might wonder, how young is too young to begin the process of finding and visiting the dentist? The truth is that for kids, those first visits should start about the 1 year mark or whenever those first few teeth start coming in.
The dentist’s office can be a scary place full of strangers with big metal tools who want to poke around your mouth. By starting the process at this early stage, parents are introducing children to the process and finding a good dental home. Kids will lose their teeth and may need to visit the dentist often even before kindergarten. Starting them young makes the process less scary as they become more familiar and establish a good relationship with their dentist.
Watch Your Own Mouth
You might not even realize that you are your own worst enemy when it comes to preparing your kids for a dental visit. The best advice is to keep it simple and don’t explain a ton of details to your kids. More details could lead to more questions you might not be able to answer. You don’t want to go into details about the process of getting a filling if your kid is just going in for a cleaning and check up. Take it one step at a time.
It’s also a good idea to avoid those “trigger” words that can cause a lot of anxiety for kids. Keep it positive and stay away from words like “pain” or “hurt.” It’s okay to rely on the dental staff to use their own vocabulary with the kids to help them understand the process. It’s a fine line between offering your kids false hope about a piece of cake process and causing them anxiety about something that might happen. Emphasize “strong, healthy” teeth so they understand the visit is a positive experience that is good for their health.
Host a Pretend Visit
To help your child understand what the dentist will do, host a pretend visit with you as the dentist and have your child then practice on their favorite doll or stuffed animal. Grab a tooth brush and have your child open their mouth in front of the mirror. Count their teeth and show them the right way to brush. Use a small mirror to show them what the dentist might do as they look at the mouth and teeth. Then, have your child do the same thing with their stuffed animal so the process doesn’t seem so foreign and scary.
Prepare for Resistance
Even if you do everything right, your child still might show a little hesitation at going to the dentist. Be prepared for a fussy patient. Remember, this can be a scary process with strangers wanting to put things in their mouth. Let the staff work their magic (they have experience with fussy and frightened kids) and allow them to help calm your child and explain the process in their own terminology.
Best to Avoid Bribery
While bribery might be a good option for kids sometimes, the dentist might not be the best place to employ this method of reward. Telling kids they will get a candy or food-related (specifically a sugary) treat sends the wrong message about healthy eating and strong teeth. And the constant reminder to be good and don’t fuss at the dentist, might make them wonder what there is to fuss about. Kids can be pretty smart about things like this and you don’t want to cause unnecessary anxiety.
Pediatric Dentist in Glendora
If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist in Glendora, check out the team at Glendora Family Dentistry. You can make an appointment, meet the team and learn more about making this process easier for your kids. Don’t wait, visit our website today and make an appointment!