Majority of kids don’t enjoy visiting the dentist. The word ‘dentist’ sounds frightening in their ears and minds. Many kids associates any medical office with ill-comfort, so they would always want to run or throw a tantrum when the idea of going to a dentist, is announced.
We all know visiting the dentist regularly is very necessary, and as a parent, you’re probably tired of the unnecessary drama accompanying every dentist session with your kids.
There are some things parents can do to help their child feel at ease and enjoy going to the dental office.
11 Tips to getting your kids to love going to the dentist.
1. Start Young
Train them when they are young, this could probably sound like a cliché to you. But when it comes to making your kids love the dentist’s office, this is your best fit.
Commit to taking your child to the dentist before they turn one. The earlier you take your child to the dentist, the quicker he or she will adjust to the system and probably finds nothing harmful about it.
The longer you wait to take your child in to see the dentist, the more kid would grow resistant to seeing the dentist.
2. Talk About it Beforehand
Educating the child about the importance of visiting the dentistry before going can help eliminate any fear and reservation they must have built.
Use only words that they can understand, forget all the dental terms. Another way you can give them a hint about dentistry is by watching a kid’s movie or reading them a book where the character goes to the dentist and was grateful they did.
3. Have a Positive Attitude
This may be easier said than done, but several studies show that parent’s concern worsens dental fear in children. So at every time before going to meet the dentist try as much as you can to maintain a positive attitude.
While driving to the dental office, talk about some fun things or watch a YouTube kid friendly video with your little ones.
In the dental office, talk positively about the dentist, be friendly so that your kids can see that the dentist poses no threat. Do not fidget or behaving in an overly soothing or consoling way, as it can make the kid think there is something to be scared or worried about.
4. Go To a Kid-friendly Dentistry
It is highly recommended you take your child to a pediatric dentist. These are dentists that have specialized training for young patients which includes methods to soothe their fears. They have a kid-friendly and assuring demeanor.
Additionally, Pediatric Dental offices provide a kid-friendly environment and fun activities, like movies, games, and toys, to keep children occupied during their visit.
5. Do a Practice Run
Before your child’s appointment, role play with your child. You can pretend to be the dentist and your child the patient. As you do that, let your child practice opening wide and staying open while you brush their teeth.
You can also encourage your child to role play with his/her doll or stuffed animal where your little one can play the role of the dentist.
6. Schedule the appointment for a time best suited to your child
Take your kids to the dental office at a time when they are more relaxed and calm. Some kids are more cooperative during this time. And also make sure they are not hungry, tired, or thirsty before visiting the dentist.
7. Lead by Example
Let your kids know that visiting the dentist is part of everyone’s lifestyle. They should know this by seeing you go for yours. If possible bring your kids along so that they can see that it is nothing to be afraid of.
8. Emphasize Good Oral Hygiene
Tell your child that visiting the dentist is very necessary, state the benefits of maintaining proper oral hygiene. And how it is the work of the dentist to ensure that their teeth are strong and healthy. Which consequently contributes to a very beautiful smile.
9. Make it Familiar
Allow your child to bring along their favorite book, toy, or stuffed animal to the dentist’s office.
This allows your child to feel comfortable and more relaxed in the dentist’s office. Your little one would feel like she is at home and we all know that home is synonymous with comfort and safety.
10. Allow the Dentist do their Work
It is very normal for kids to cry, fuss, squirm and throw a tantrum when a stranger is working in their mouths. Resist the urge to scold your child or hover over your child during the dental exam and cleaning. Pediatric dentists are already used to the nervous behavior of children. Let the dentist handle the situation. It may be better for you to stay at a distance during the appointment.
If your child behaves well during their dental appointment, reward them afterward. You can take them to a park, movie, museum or their favorite place. You can give also give them a healthy snack, toy, or sticker as a gift.
Children shouldn’t fear going to the dentist. The sooner you’re able to dispel the scary misconceptions of the dentist, the better for you and your little ones.
Having an uncooperative child at the dentist can be extremely frustrating and embarrassing, but when parents lose their tempers during the visit, children just seem to be afraid the more. Immediately, they will start thinking they’re in trouble, so they’re crying for two reasons! Lots of situations call for a good loud cry, but being afraid of the dentist isn’t one of them.
As the parent, you are crucial in helping your child learn to develop trust and warmth around the dentist. Which helps in developing a positive attitude toward their dental health. It is so rewarding for a parent to see their child leave the dental office with a sense of accomplishment and pride. We want to foster a relationship with both you and your child to ensure their smiles are beautiful and healthy for years to come.