How to Prepare for a Positive Dental Visit
Tell Your Child About the Appointment Early
Talk to your child about the dental appointment, and do it early. Avoid springing it on them last minute and taking them by surprise. Keep the details to a minimum, however. The more information you give, the more questions they may have. Avoid using scary words like hurt, shot, and pain. You should also avoid telling your child that everything will be fine. While you want to reassure your child, this phrase can lead to distrust if your child has an issue that needs further treatment.
Books for children are great teaching tools. There are so many books out there devoted to making friends, the importance of honesty, bedtime, and even going to the dentist. These books typically contain easy to follow stories with relatable characters and colorful pictures. Reading these books before the appointment can help your child understand what to expect and can help to make the idea of going to the dentist less scary.
If your child likes to play pretend, play dentist. Using a toothbrush and a small mirror, you can have your child open their mouth so that you can see their teeth and count them. Then let them do the same to you. Role-playing can show your child what to expect. Your child can also play dentist with their toys.
Model Oral Hygiene
One of the best ways for your child to understand the importance of good oral hygiene habits is to do them yourself. Even if it does not always seem like it, your child is watching everything that you do. Show them what good oral hygiene entails, including brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist. If your child sees you doing these things, they are more likely to pick them up as well.
If your child expresses concern or fears about their upcoming dental visit, do not dismiss their feelings and tell them that it will be fine. Instead, provide them with comfort. If your child has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, let them bring this item with them to their appointment. Having a comforting, familiar item in an unfamiliar setting can greatly help to ease the feelings of fear or anxiety that your child may be experiencing. When your child feels comforted, they are more likely to be able to relax and sit still throughout their dental visit.
Helping to prepare your child for their visit can help them to have a positive experience and can also help make future visits to the office easier and more pleasant. For more information, call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry today at (503) 663-8141.