6 things your dentist wants you to know/do before your child's visit to the dental office
Hint: Don't use the word "shots" or "needles"!
1. Do encourage reading/watching dental-themed media.
Kids do well when they have read or seen their "virtual friends" complete a dentist visit successfully. They should be encouraged to read the same book or watch the same episode so they can retain the information and expect a good visit.
2. Do not discuss your fear of the dentist with your child.
Children are highly impressionable and they will take in your fear as their own. This will make the dentist's job harder. Keep calm and all will go well.
3. Do not use the word "Needle".
Children are used to getting "shots" at their doctor's office and needless to say, most of them do not enjoy the process. Often, kids will obsessively ask the dentist if they will be getting "a shot". Either an older sibling (evil, I know!) or a parent would have put that idea in their heads, thus making their visit ridden with anxiety.
4. Do not use the dental visit to yell at your child about their eating habits.
A four-year-old will sneak candy and will fall asleep without brushing their teeth. It is incumbent upon the parent to not keep snacks within their reach and to encourage/help them brush twice daily. Reprimanding them in front of their dentist/hygienist is not a positive association with their visit and is best avoided.
5. Do bring along their favorite toy.
It is very comforting for the child to hold their favorite toy when they are first being introduced to their dentist. It helps us start a conversation with the child and they seem to want to trust us more once we have acknowledged and shown interest in their toy.
6. Do promise a small reward for good behavior.
It helps if their behavior is tied to a small reward at the end. It could be a simple visit to their grandparents or giving them more time to play in the park.
I would love to hear from you about some more helpful tips on how to make a child’s visit more pleasant. Leave a comment or reply to this email :)