Going to the dentist can be scary for anyone at any age, but it doesn’t have to be so for young children. At Oak Hills Dentistry, we strive to make sure each experience is positive. Here are six tips you can use to help your kids have positive experiences in the dental office.
The sooner you can get your child in to see the dentist, the better. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests children have their first visit to the dentist when their first tooth erupts. Reasons for this include: instructions to parents for tooth care, monitoring jaw growth, and having your child have short, frequent, and positive experiences in a dental office. These early visits include cavity and cancer screenings, tooth cleaning, gum and tooth evaluation, jaw growth assessments, tours of the office, and meeting the dentist.
2.Talk About the Visit and show excitement
Depending on the age of your child, you will be able to have a conversation about your trip to the dentist. Children usually do better knowing their schedule ahead of time. Try letting them know a few days in advance and show them you are excited to have them there. You can talk about how a dentist will check their smile and how we are supposed to go each year to keep our teeth healthy and strong.
3.Introduce Dentist Books or Videos
Find a variety of picture books or children’s programs that show positive experiences at the dental office. Most encourage children to face their apprehensions in a positive way and give positive reinforcements for going to the dentist. If you need to purchase some, consider buying them at least a week or so before the dental appointment so that you have multiple opportunities to read or view them before your appointment.
4.Play Pretend Dental Visit
Children love playing pretend. They interact positively with their world through play, and a great way to have a positive experience with the dentist is to play dentist before you go to the actual office. You can use their tooth brush and have them practice brushing their teeth. Use a mirror to show them their teeth and even take turns pretending to look at or clean the teeth of their favorite toy or stuffed animal.
5.Have Children Accompany You to Your Appointment
One great way to show your children through your actions that the dental office can be a fun and safe place is to bring them along with you to your appointment. We ask you to let us know while scheduling your visit so we can coordinate their first visit with your appointment to save you time and allow your child to see that we are kind and gentle.
“If you don’t cry or fuss, you can have a lollipop.” Sound familiar? Bribing your child with candy or toys to get them to go to the dentist or not cry will have a negative impact on them rather than good. Having nervous or afraid emotions at the dentist the first few times is normal. Instead, empathize, validate, and show support for your child. Sometimes, it might take a few visits to the dentist to actually have work done, but that aids in building a positive relationship with the dentist and staff.
Our professionals are passionate about ensuring children have a positive experience at our office. At Oak Hills Dentistry, we do everything we can to diminish the fear of the dentist and have a welcoming environment for your children. We are located in Layton, Utah, and serve greater Davis and Salt Lake counties. Visit us or give us a call at (801)-544-2256. Contact us today!