Going to the dentist can be a very uneasy and frightening experience, especially for children. But it doesn’t have to be. When you start taking your child to the dentist from an early age, he or she will learn that the dental environment is not a big bad scary place. But for this to happen, you have to prepare them from the beginning and keep them feeling good about the experience. For a child who has never been to the dentist before, the environment, noises, tools, and chairs in a dental office can seem strange and scary.
Take your child to the dentist’s office before their actual appointment. You can even take them with you for one of your appointments so that they can see that there’s nothing to be frightened of. Ask the staff at the office to give your child a tour of all the places where they can play and see fun things. This will give them a good feeling of being there and they will remember it as a positive place to go.
Talk to your child about the upcoming appointment and answer their questions honestly. Call the dentist’s office beforehand and ask them what the procedure will involve, so that you can tell your child what to expect. If there is pain involved in the procedure they’re going for, don’t tell them that no pain will be involved. Tell them what they might expect without frightening them. If you give them a different impression of what to expect and they end up going through pain, they won’t trust you the next time. Also explain that the dentist will be looking into their mouth and touching their teeth to alleviate any anxiety that they might experience when it actually happens.
It’s also a good idea to schedule the appointment in the morning when your child is active and awake, instead of during nap times or when they might be cranky.
During the appointment, assure your child that you are close by. Take along a blanket or a familiar toy to give them a sense of familiarity as well. And once the procedure is over, tell them how proud you are, and give positive feedback like saying how beautiful their teeth are.
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