The importance of taking care of teeth is a lesson that should be instilled in children from a young age. However, it can be quite intimidating to visit a dentist especially as the clinic will be an unfamiliar environment to them. Also, the dental instruments along with the procedures can trigger anxiety in them so that they can become hesitant to go to the clinic.
To ensure your child has a positive dental experience
You have to start taking them to the clinic early so they are able to become familiar with it. This will be once their first tooth appears or by the first birthday. Visiting the dentist will be a routine that they will become used to. The initial appointments at the dentist will be more focused on educating you on how to maintain your child’s teeth and to prevent dental issues. When selecting a dentist for your child, look for someone who is educated and specially trained in children paediatric dentistry.
It is important to check their qualifications and experience when selecting the right dentist for your child. By choosing a paediatric dentist, you will have access to a professional who is trained in age appropriate dental techniques, behaviour management and child psychology so they will be able to make a difference in your child’s experience. You can visit the dental clinic to check whether the space is child-friendly and designed to put a child at ease.
You have to use positive language
When referring to the dentist or explaining about the dentist to your child. Try not to use any negative words that can create a fear of the dental procedure. Instead, you can explain to them the role of the dentist in helping them keep their teeth healthy. And they should also know why regular check-ups are important. You can teach them about cavities and this can cause pain and affect their smile.
To familiarise your child with what will happen during a dental check-up, you can do role play where both you and the child can take turns being the patient and the dentist. You can pretend to examine each other’s teeth; you can even use small props and tools for this such as a flashlight and a small mirror. This can make the experience a little less intimidating for the child.
When you are reading to your child at bedtime
Make sure to pick a few books that are related to visiting the dentist and oral health. This will give your child a better idea about the process and why they visit the dentist. You can search online for recommended books in this regard so that your child is able to grasp the importance of oral health.
You can also show educational videos or animations regarding dental care where the procedures at the dentist will be explained in a simple way. Also, when you are scheduling appointments, it is better to do so in the morning so there is less of a build up towards the event and your child will not be tired and irritable at this time.