NOT MUCH IS better in the world than the smiles of our kids, and we have to work hard to keep those smiles healthy. Regular dental visits are a crucial part of a lifetime of good dental health, and that should start early on. If your child’s next dental visit will actually be their first, we’re here to put you at ease and give you a good idea of what to expect and how to prepare.
Kids Can Experience Dental Anxiety Too
A third of American adults struggle with severe enough dental anxiety that it stops them from going to the dentist, but kids can deal with fear of the dentist too. New things are often scary for young children, and maybe an older family member has already put frightening images in their mind by describing an unpleasant experience they had. Kids are also perceptive and will notice if their parents have negative feelings about the dentist even if you didn’t say anything directly.
You Can Help Your Child Have a Positive Mindset About Dentists
There are many things parents can do to help their children have a positive mindset when it comes to going in for a dental checkup. We can help once you arrive at our practice, but before that, it’s up to you!
- Begin early. Kids can benefit from dental visits as soon as they have teeth! Starting early makes it easier to build a trusting relationship with the dentist.
- Play pretend to help you explain what will happen (if your child is very young). You could play the role of the dentist and show them how their visit can be fun and interesting.
- For older children, simply explain. Take the mystery out of the dental visit, because kids are more comfortable when they understand what’s happening. Give a quick explanation of what dental visits are like and why they matter for their teeth.
- Teach your child how important dental hygiene is. If kids know that brushing and flossing are helping keep their teeth healthy, they will be able to appreciate the dentist more.
- Bring them to meet the dentist in advance! You can help make the first appointment much less stressful by doing a meet-and-greet first. If the dentist isn’t a stranger anymore, the experience won’t be as stressful!
- Accompany your child. No amount of information can substitute for the comforting presence of a loved and trusted adult. If you stick by, you’ll be able to offer support and encouragement through the early visits.
Here’s a video to help explain the dentist to a child:
We’re Excited to Meet Your Child!
We cannot overstate the importance of making your child’s first dental visit a good one, and if you’d like more suggestions for ways to help your child avoid dental anxiety and the issues that come with it, we’re here to help. We also welcome your questions about your child’s dental care.