Visiting a pediatric dentist for the first time is daunting and scary for a child. Everyone reading this will agree that the first dentist appointment was frightening. However, this where the parent role comes in. Parents, as well as dentists, play an integral part in making the child’s first dentist appointment as comfortable, fun and happy as possible, and why visiting the dentist is a good thing.
Is your child afraid of visiting the dentist? Don’t panic. There are some helpful tips that will ease children’s anxiety and to help them ease into their dentist appointment in a positive and happy mood. We’ve picked out the following tips that are guaranteed to help.
The Parent Role
- Prepare Your Child for Their Appointment Early – Children need support when faced with unfamiliar situations. If your child is told they have a dentist appointment immediately before it, this only increases their fear and anxiety. If your child is told of a dentist appointment ahead of time in advance, this gives you, the parent, the opportunity to talk to them about how important visiting the dentist is, how friendly a dentist visit is and that the dentist helps the child stay healthy and happy. Use positive words and smile throughout as you talk about the dentist, but do not talk about your unpleasant experiences.
- Notify the Dentist of Your Child’s Anxiety – Let the dentist know that the child is anxious about visiting the dentist. This will help the dentist prepare for the child in the appointment, and then use their experience to make sure that your child’s visit to the dentist is a fun and happy experience.
- Ask the Dentist for Advice – Before the appointment begins, you should ask the Dentist for some advice on how to calm your child down if you’re unsure about what to do. The dentist is very helpful in these situations and only wants what’s best for your child. Some typical examples that have worked in the past are letting them play in the waiting room, give them a favorite toy and let them have some play time so they are in a happy mood.
So, you have prepared your child for their dentist appointment. What is equally important is to make sure the actual appointment is fun, happy and comfortable. In these situations, what would the Dentist do?
The Dentist Role
- Talk in Kiddies Language and Be Kind – As soon as your child enters the dental room, the dentist will immediately make sure that your child is entering a happy place. The Dentist will speak gently, be friendly and use simple vocabulary to make your child understand why they are here. They will not use words linked to the procedure. They may also offer a treat or a toy to keep them happy.
- Use Positive Encouragement and Compliment Them – Praising your child works just as good for children. Tell them how brave they are, that they are well behaved and that they are very good. Children hearing praise and compliments makes them feel happier. This will then make the dental treatment easier to complete.
- Distract the Child During the Procedure – The Dentist will tell stories to distract your child during the procedure. This will draw their attention away so that treatment can be completed smoother.
You as the parent along with the dentist perform important roles to make your children’s dentist visit is comfortable and happy. As your child gets older, they will become more aware of the importance of visiting the dentist and why looking after teeth is important for overall health. You are guaranteed to take a happy child to the dentist if these steps are followed. If it takes longer than expected, do not give up, as it will take patience to deal with dental anxiety. As they get older, they will grow out of it. Once your child is aware of the importance of dental health, you have made their dental visits a lot easier.
Is your child ready for his first appointment? Contact us at Sutherland Dental now to book your first appointment with us now!