When my first child was in elementary school, I dreaded dentist visits just as much as she did. That’s because she would always through a fit whenever we had to go for her checkup. I would get so embarrassed when she didn’t cooperate with the dentist too. As most confused parents do nowadays, I turned to the internet for some advice on how to get my kids to like the dentist, or at least tolerate it. While looking for some tips I stumbled across the website of Babylon Dental Care in Patchogue. Their website has lots of helpful information on proper dental hygiene practices at home as well as a complete list of the services they offer.
The first big thing you can do to help your child enjoy the dentist is to start young and find a home for them. Children are too young to understand why they need to see a dentist. They’re naturally going to be uncomfortable with sitting in an unfamiliar place, having a stranger poke around in their mouth. The best way to make the dentist more comfortable is to make it familiar. Find a dentist that you will be able to visit for the years to come, and start taking them as early as you can. Some dentists recommend visiting the office at the age of one when the first tooth becomes visible.
The next tip is to always keep things as simple as possible. When you are talking to your child about a checkup at the dentist, try to leave out any details that may cause anxiety or stress. It is important to also not give your child false hope. If you say things like “everything will be fine” or “it’s just this once” and then your child ends up needing to undergo treatment, your child may lose trust in the dentist and you as well.
Watch your words when you’re talking about the dentist. Avoid using the words shot, pain, or hurt. Instead, let the dentist introduce uncomfortable experiences on their own terms. You can make it fun by telling your child that the dentist is looking for sugar bugs.
Never try to relate your experience at the dentist to that of your kids. Children are more emotionally aware than we realize sometimes. They can sense your own anxieties about visiting the dentist, and they’ll have the same anxieties during their visit. Telling stories of your root canals and extractions will also trigger lots of unnecessary fear, as they likely won’t need to have those procedures done at their age. Additionally, the sterile environment of an adult dentist’s office is much different than many pediatric offices. Some offices have video games, bright decor, and healthy snacks available. This creates an enjoyable atmosphere, and exposing your child to an adult office will only foster unpleasant feelings towards the dentist.
The last tip is to avoid bribing. If you offer rewards for good behavior at the dentist, this tends to increase their apprehension about the place. It causes many children to think “what’s so bad about the dentist that I would cry or act up?”