Kids need to visit the dentist just as much as you do, but from their point of view, it can be a very upsetting and distressing situation. The office may seem unfamiliar, and there are noises and objects that can seem frightening.
Still, as your child grows, proper dental care is crucial, and if they start feeling anxiety every time you mention another trip, things could get difficult.
You can have a lot of influence over how they perceive these appointments, though. You can do some simple things help your children feel more comfortable and relaxed.
Talk Openly but Not in Detail
Your children are naturally going to have questions about a trip to the dentist and any procedures that they may need. You should definitely talk to them about it and be very open with them – because they can sense when you’re hiding something from them.
Having said that, you don’t need to give them all the details of the procedure. We’ve had a lot more experience talking to kids about dental procedures, and we can do it without freaking them out. From your end, you just need to stay positive. Don’t promise them that everything will be over soon and that they won’t feel a thing, because if they do, they’ll start to get suspicious about you and us. Be honest, but leave the details to us.
Focus on the Positive
Most children only have to come in for a quick check of their teeth and a cleaning. However, there are some cases in which cavities develop or other procedures need to be done. When this happens, you need to focus on the positive. You don’t need to brace them for the potential discomfort they may experience. You just need to let them know that, in the end, this will lead to cleaner, stronger, healthier teeth. That, and an amazing smile.
No War Stories
Your kids don’t need to know about the wisdom teeth, implants, and cavities you’ve had over the years. Don’t try to scare them into good dental habits with phrases like: “How I wish I would have taken better care of my teeth when I was your age.” This just puts the focus back on the negative, and we really need to be positive.
Be a Rock
It’s only natural that a small child feels anxious while sitting in a dental chair. Older children generally do fine, but there are always exceptions. Either way, if they start to cry or scream, some parents can rush into the room, ready to comfort and console. The thing is, this has happened before and it will happen again.
If your face mirrors their anxiety and fear, it’s just going to build on itself. We’ve dealt with children for years, and we do everything possible to minimize discomfort. If your face is telling them that they should be feeling pain or that they should be scared, they’re going to believe it. You need to be a rock of confidence and positivity.
Going to the dentist for regular visits needs to be a necessity, not something that happens every so often. Teach them why it’s important to take care of their teeth, and how dental visits are a part of that. There are no ifs ands or buts about this. Dental visits are going to happen no matter what, so let them know exactly when it’s going to happen so they’re not surprised by it.
We’re going to do everything we can to make this experience a positive one for your children, but it always goes better when you’re done some prep work before the appointment. Start early, and be positive, and you’ll set your kids on a path for lifelong dental health.