Do you have to bribe your kids to get them to the dentist? Are car rides to the dentist full of kicking and screaming? Unfortunately, for many parents, these questions are usually answered yes. It’s no secret that kids are terrified of going to the dentist, which is why you need to take steps as a parent to make those dentist trips don’t leave long lasting scars on your children.
There are lots of ways that you can make the dentist trips more friendly for your children. Dental checkups don’t need to be a terrifying experience, and in fact can be fun for some kids that like how clean their teeth feel after visiting the dentist. If you’re looking for ways to make the dreaded dentist visit a bit less scary for your kids, check out these tips.
The sooner you start taking in your children for dental checkups, the better. Your kids will feel safer if they’ve had a dentist that they’ve been visiting for a long time, and if they go to a dentist’s office that they recognize.
Comfort is key when it comes to the dentist, and there really is no better way to have you kids be comfortable at the dentist than to start early. You should schedule your child’s first dental appointment when you spot his or her first tooth, around the age of one.
Be Careful What You Say
Going to the dentist is traumatic for people of all ages, but it is especially for kids because they usually don’t understand why they’re at the dentist. As a parent, it’s important to calm your kids before they visit the dentist. Be careful as to what words you use when taking your kids to the dentist.
For example, try to avoid words that invoke fear in your children, like “shot” or “pain” as this will make your child terrified of going back to the dentist. Instead, use positive words and tell your children that the dentist is going to count their teeth and look at their smiles. The dentist is there to protect your child’s teeth, and you should explain that to your children in a way that they understand.
Understand It Won’t Be Easy
As a parent, you should prepare for the inevitable. And that inevitable is lots of crying, screaming, and general fussiness. It’s totally fine and natural for your child to be terrified of the dentist, and you should be as comforting as you can.
Do not discipline your child because he or she is scared of the dentist, as this will only make the experience worse. Instead, give your child as much positive encouragement as he or she needs to have a better experience at the dentist.
One idea is to go into the back room with your child to comfort him or her if there’s a bad experience happening. Holding your child’s hand can do wonders to help him or her feel more relaxed. Additionally, you can send in an older or younger sibling for comfort, too.
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