It isn’t always easy to get children comfortable with their dental regimens. This includes everything from brushing twice a day as recommended by The American Dental Association to making visits to pediatric dentists for regular cleanings and checkups. Of course, there are countless children who become queasy and uneasy at the mere thought of sitting down in the dentist’s chair, let alone actually doing so. But with a few smart tips from our pediatric dentists, you can soothe your child and help them overcome their fear of the dentist before it even becomes a real issue. Here are just a few tricks to help your child feel comfortable and relaxed at their next dental visit.
Adult teeth typically start to come in around age six. Until then, baby teeth act as placeholders for the permanent teeth, and damage to them can cause substantial problems later. Still, most experts agree that earlier visits are better when it comes to your child’s pediatric dentistry timeline. Introducing your child to a dentist and getting them comfortable with that same dentist gets them used to the routine aspect of the entire ordeal. If you’re constantly taking your child to different kids dentists, they’ll only continue to see them all as Big Scary Dentist Man. When all is said and done, experts say your child’s first dental visit should occur when the first baby tooth becomes visible, or around age one.
Children pick up on language shockingly quickly, and as a parent, you should do your best not to contribute to any fear caused by negative use of language surrounding dental visits.
“Don’t use the ‘S’ (shot),’H’ (hurt) or ‘P’ (pain) words with children. Let the staff introduce their own vocabulary to children to help them get through difficult situations,” Joel H. Berg, D.D.S., M.S., Director of the Department of Dentistry at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said in a recent interview with Parents Magazinediscussing pediatric dental health.
Though it may seem well-intentioned, it’s best to steer clear from any attempts at bribery. Telling your child you’ll take them to their favorite restaurant if they stay calm and don’t cry may just make them wonder why they may even be tempted to cry in the first place! Children are exceptionally intuitive. If you’re going to reward them, do it as a surprise, not a conditional offer.
Family dentistry is one of the 10 most trusted and ethical professions in the United States. Kids dentists are certainly accustomed to working with all types of children, but taking these tips into consideration at your child’s next dental visit can help them stay as relaxed as possible. For more information about kids dentists, contact Smilez Pediatric Dentistry.