Unfamiliar people and noises, plus foreign objects being inserted into the mouth? The Dentist's office can sometimes be a scary place for children. But, the good news is that there are special pediatric dental centers that cater solely to children and making their dental experience comfortable and enjoyable. If your child does not like going to the Dentist, the best thing you can do is find a kid-friendly dentist.
Here are some tips to making your child's trip to the Dentist less nerve-wracking.
Introduce Your Child to the Dentist Beforehand
Arrange a meeting between the Dentist and your child before their appointment. This allows them time to get to know the office, the staff, and most importantly, the friendly Dentist who wants to help them.
Use Positive Reinforcement
If your child hates and fears going to the Dentist, try some positive reinforcement after their appointment to help create an association between a reward and a trip to the Dentist. This could be a trip to the playground, the afternoon off from school after the appointment, a matinee movie, or their favorite smoothie or frozen yogurt (soft foods are best post-dentist). Once your child knows that something positive is coming after their dentist appointment, it will be easier for them to bear the initial anxiety surrounding the Dentist's office.
Use positive, less daunting words around your child when describing the Dentist. Avoid words like "drill," "pain," "shot." These words are scary and can intimidate your little one. Tell your little one that the Dentist will count their teeth instead of "examine them" and that the Dentist is simply cleaning the sugar off their teeth. Using positive words that your child can relate to will help them understand that a trip to the Dentist's office is a positive, pain-free experience that is for the benefit of their health.
Talk to Your Little One About Why the Dentist is Important
It is hard for any of us to see the good in things we don't understand. This is why education is the best way to ease anybody's anxieties—regardless of age. Use favorable terms, books, games, activities, tv shows, and movies to educate your child on why they must visit the Dentist. Show them pictures of shiny, healthy teeth. Help your child understand the consequences that come along with failing to see the Dentist and prioritize dental health care.
Preparing your child before their visit with the Dentist is key to making them feel more comfortable when they arrive for their appointment. Remember to choose positive, calming words when talking about the Dentist and their work. You can even get your little one's siblings involved and create a mock dentist appointment where everybody plays a part. This helps your kid understand what will take place at the meeting and that it won't hurt.
For all of your pediatric dentist needs in Indianapolis, count on the team at Pediatric Dentistry West. From infants to adolescents, we go the extra mile to ensure that your child feels comfortable and enjoys their visit with us. Whether for a routine check-up or a more in-depth procedure, our team works with you and your child to help make the dental experience both practical and pleasant.