How to Prepare Your Child for the Dentist

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Too many children are so scared to go to the dentist. The sounds, smells and lights can freak them out. In order to help your child not to be afraid of going to the dentist, there are a few things that you can do.

Find a Pediatric Dentistry Office
Dentists that specifically cater to children know what their offices should look like and how they should act. One of the scariest parts of a dentist visit is when you initially walk in and everything is quite with stark white walls and only magazines for reading material. Pediatric dentistry offices tend to add more color to their decor. They will usually put out toys for the children to play with or even have a television on that is showing funny cartoons. This helps put the children at ease as they wait to see their dentist. Once with the dentist, he or she should be calm, kind and happy as well as have a knack for how to talk to children. A dentist that can explain dental health to a child in a way that they will understand is also important. A pediatric dentistry is much more important that you might think. The whole atmosphere is different and it is focused around keeping kids relaxed.

Prepare Them at Home
This includes telling them what is going to happen once you get to the pediatric dentistry office but it can mean a lot more to. Children love to role play so if you let them pretend to be the dentist with their stuffed animals or dolls, it might give them something to look forward to. If your child asks you something to do with teeth or dental cleanings, instead of answering them right away, encourage them to write down the question so they can ask their dentist. This encourages them to build a communicative relationship with their dentist. Once they get to know their dentist and like them, they may even start to look forward to bi-annual visits. Your goal is to get them to a place where they can fully trust their dentist.

Allow Them to Express Themselves
If your child is having an extremely hard time and gets very anxious when you get there, arrive at your appointments early and allow your child to take their time going inside. If they know that they aren’t going to be thrown in before they are ready, it might help them to conquer their fears. Ask them what they are afraid of and listen carefully as they talk to you about it. Let them know that you are going to be with them the entire time and that you aren’t going anywhere even when whatever it is that they’re scared of has to happen. If you brush off their worries and tell them they’re being silly, they will learn to bottle up their fears as they grow worse and worse and they will also realize that they can’t talk to you about anything because they will like you don’t find it important.

Don’t Over Promise or Lie to Them
Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. If you tell your child that going to the dentist isn’t going to hurt and then they end up having to schedule oral surgery, they aren’t going to trust you anymore. Say you promise them that the dentist is going to just take a look in their mouth and then you can go play in the park. What happens when the wait time is outrageous and the appointment takes much longer than expected and then there’s no time to go to the park? They will not only be severely disappointed but you will have been made a liar without even meaning to. Be realistic when talking to your child about the dentist. Especially if they are going into a procedure that might hurt somewhat, let them know that it might hurt but it will not last forever and that it’s going to help them. Things like this can help build trust with your child so that when they are just going for a check up on their healthy smile, you can tell them that and they will believe you.