A regular visit to the dentist is important for your child’s oral health. And since studies have shown that your oral health affects your overall health, it’s important to get them started young. So here are some tips to make visiting the dentist easy for your child- and for you.
Watch your cues
Kids mimic their parents and learn how to feel about the world based on their parent’s reactions. If they hear the grown ups around them dreading a dentist visit, they’re going to dread it too. Try to talk about the positive results from your own dental visit. Point out how great it feels to have clean teeth, how nice everyone was in the office… whatever you can think of to create an overall good impression for your child.
Get an early start
If your child has been seeing the dentist since they were one year old, odds are they’ll be familiar enough with the process to keep from feeling anxious. Toddlers will have short exams, but it gives you a chance to ask any questions you might have about their baby teeth and brushing. For a pediatric dentist Fresno residents have a number of great options, and starting while they’re young, before longer exams are necessary, gives you time to find a dentist who is great fit for your child.
Get them familiar
For a really frightened child, it can help to have a pre-visit before an actual dental check up. Take them to the office to see the waiting room and meet the staff. Many pediatric dentists have lots of fun things to do in the waiting rooms, so a few minutes playing will ensure your little one will be ready to come back.
There are a number of books about visits to the dentist and reading with your child can make it seem more familiar. Just be careful about your book choices. Some children’s books about visiting the dentist assume your child is terrified, which in turn can make your child afraid. Those books would be helpful for kids who are already anxious and frightened, but if yours isn’t, choose a book that has a lighter, happier tone.
Kids love role-playing, so spend some time playing “visit the dentist.” Your child can practice opening wide and holding it, and you can then let them practice on you. Most dentists have stickers or small trinkets to choose from after their visit, so you can add these in after a successful game of dentist.
Plan the post-visit
It’s worth it to plan for some fun after the dentist, so that your child associates the visit with a good time. A visit to a favorite park, swimming pool or toy store might go a long way in making the next dentist visit easy and drama free.