As a parent, you know it’s important for your child to see the dentist. But plenty of kids are a little nervous about dental checkups, especially if it’s their first visit.
As leading pediatric dentists with offices in Brea, Chino, Corona, Covina, Riverside, Ontario, and Perris, California, the team at Dental Kidz Club understands kids’ worries, and they’re committed to doing all they can to help kids — and their parents — stay calm and relaxed. If your child is nervous about their first visit to our office, here’s how you can help.
Just like adults, kids are a lot more accepting of new experiences when they understand the reasons for those experiences. Take some time to discuss the importance of dental checkups — how dentists help kids (and their parents, too) prevent tooth decay and keep their smiles beautiful and healthy.
Use some make-believe
Fear of the unknown is real — and it affects kids as much as it does adults. Explain to your child what they can expect during a routine checkup — how the dentist will count their teeth and check each tooth using a tiny mirror. Then let them roleplay with a stuffed animal “patient” so they get a chance to be the dentist.
You can also check out some books and videos that talk about dentist visits in a friendly way. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry website offers plenty of age-appropriate resources.
Set an example
You are your child’s primary role model, so it’s up to you to set a good example when it comes to seeing the dentist. When your child sees you brushing and flossing, making tooth-healthy eating choices, and visiting the dentist (without complaining), they’ll find it a lot easier to follow suit.
Don’t telegraph your own anxiety
Dental anxiety affects lots of adults. If you’re one of them, don’t let your child “feel” your own nervousness about the dentist. When talking about their visit, don’t discuss needles, drills, or other dental procedures that could make your child nervous, and don’t talk about any negative experiences you may have had.
Instead, focus on the positive impacts, like having a beautiful smile and healthy teeth. Let your child see their dentist as a partner who will help them keep their teeth and gums healthy as they grow.
Bring a “friend”
Let your child bring a favorite toy with them to their appointment. Having a familiar “friend” can help your child stay calm, and if they bring a small stuffed animal or doll, they can even bring it with them to sit with them in the dental chair.
Promise a small reward
You can take your child’s focus off their appointment by giving them something to look forward to later. Stopping off at a local playground or park or planning to watch a special video after a dental visit helps them view their visit as the start of a special event — and it can give you some special bonding time, too.
Setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth
Of course, helping your child feel positive about dental visits is important for avoiding dental anxiety. In fact, setting good habits now paves the way for better oral health all the way through their adult years.
To schedule a visit for your child, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Dental Kidz Club today.