Worried about taking your child to the dentist? Most people don’t have very positive feelings about going in for cleanings, exams, and fillings, so it’s understandable to assume your child will feel the same way. The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way! If you approach the experience early on with the intent of making dentist trips a positive experience, you can help set your child up for a better dental future. While they might not look forward to the dentist as an adult, you can make the experience exciting for kids while they’re young, helping to offset all the scary stereotypes of dental work and keeping visits light and fun. But how? Here are some tips for getting off on the right foot with kids and dental care.
It may seem strange to start going to the dentist from a very young age, since baby teeth won’t last long, but it’s important to establish habits early in life. Aside from getting used to brushing and flossing, kids should be familiar with the dentist early in life. This will help them to stay relaxed when their appointments become more invasive. Dental cleanings are also recommended every six months for children with baby teeth.
Screen Your Dentist
When you bring your child to the dentist, you don’t want them to be scared of the people who will be taking care of their teeth. Be sure to choose a dentist for your child who is kind and respectful of children, and who will help set your child up for a good experience during their appointment.
Before you actually head to an appointment, talk to your child about it. Tell them exactly what it is, why they’re going, and what will happen. Frame it positively, and make sure you allow enough time for your child to think it over and set their own expectations before the appointment. Fear of the unknown won’t help them feel confident once they’re in the office.
Make Visits Part of a Treat
There’s nothing wrong with positive associations after leaving your appointment. So consider making it a ritual to spend some time doing something fun after the appointment. Go to the park or the children’s museum, or partake in some other special activity that will make going to the dentist something to look forward to!
Get Fun Supplies
Brushing and flossing can be a drag for kids if it’s something they HAVE to do. Make it something they want to do by getting fun supplies for oral hygiene. Character-themed toothbrushes and flossers, and toothpaste in fun flavors are great ways to get kids into brushing.
Kids emulate their parents, so make brushing a family activity. Before bed and in the morning, brush together so you can help them establish good habits with your own actions.
Do you have a play medical kit in your house? Many kids enjoy pretending to be doctors, chefs, and firefighters, so why not a dentist? Incorporating the concepts of dentistry in play will help kids learn more about how and why dentists do their work. This can help reinforce the idea of going to the dentist as something exciting—something that will spark curiosity. You can add extra fun by letting kids wear a simple costume or their favorite outfit to the dentists—and compose a narrative about why the dentist is working on their teeth.
While making the dentist’s office a positive experience for kids isn’t always the easiest task, there are major payoffs for doing so. Kids will behave better at the dentist’s office, which makes the whole experience easier on everyone involved. Kids who have a good experience at the dentist are also less likely to have bad associations later in life—something everyone wants for their kids.
Looking for a compassionate and skilled dentist? Come to Drs. Gallardo in Miami for an unparalleled experience. Our experts specialize in periodontal disease and dental implants but also offer many routine dental services in a relaxed and caring environment. Call 305-547-8687 today to schedule an appointment!