As a parent, you know that regular dental visits are important for keeping your child’s teeth healthy, yet it is normal for a child to be apprehensive about their upcoming appointment. For this reason, it is important to choose a dentist who has experience, especially dealing with anxious children. In addition to your dentist selection, you can implement the following strategies that will ease your child’s dental anxiety and have them looking forward to their next visit.
Building a relation with the dentist
It might be advisable to get a child to visit the dentist a few times either with the parents or with the sibling. This will give the child to experience the surroundings within the dental practice in a non-threatening scenario. It will also give a child familiarity with the dentist and the staff. Children are sometimes nervous about the dentist because they are unsure of how to respond in a strange environment with new people. We do not want your child’s first memory of the dentist to involve treatment. When you call your dentist for an appointment, ask if you can stop by the day before and introduce your child to the practice. This way, your child will be experiencing the environment and be familiar with the surroundings.
Start dental visits at an early age
The Australian Dental Association recommends that a child’s first dental visit should occur within six months of their first tooth appearing, and no later than their first birthday. Starting the dental visits early can be beneficial. The dental visits could start with something as simple as “a ride on the chair”, sitting on the parents’ lap, or sit on the dental chair with the sibling.
Let Them Practice
Young children learn through role-playing, and acting out a make-believe dental visit is an ideal way to help ease their fears. Talk to your little ones about some of the things that may be done at the dentist. Then, have your child pretend to perform these actions on a stuffed toy or family member so that they can begin to understand what will happen at their appointment.
Bring a Comfort Item
Our local dentist office should already be set up to be kid-friendly, yet having a familiar item nearby can help your child relax. Young children may prefer to hold a stuffed animal on their lap as the children’s dentist performs their exam or they receive any dental treatment. Older children and teens may prefer to listen to their favourite music to drown out the surrounding sounds. Talk to your child about what might make them feel comfortable, and encourage them to bring it along for a little extra security.
After several appointments, your child will naturally become more comfortable as they get acquainted with their dentist. Yet, they may still experience some anxiety occasionally, especially when they need a new type of dental care. If you would like to know more about how to prepare your child for an upcoming appointment, please feel free to call our dental surgery today.