making dentist visits less stressful
Screaming, kicking, crying, does this sound familiar to you? Yes, that’s your kid when they realise it’s time to go to the dentist! From a child’s viewpoint, a trip to the dentist is a scary event. They’ll need to lie on a chair in an unfamiliar room ﬁlled with unfamiliar noises and objects followed by a stranger coming to poke cold, metal and unusual instruments into their mouths. It’s no wonder they get nervous! Helping to ease future visits for your child are important so that they are comfortable and more relaxed. Here are four tips that could be helpful for you and your little one.
The earlier your child visits the dental clinic, the better. This helps them get familiar with the environment compared to the shock of going at a much later age. According to Rhea Haugseth, D.M.D., President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, “This will provide your child with a dental home where all his or her needs will be take care of.” It is recommended that the ﬁrst visit would be when your little one turns one year old or when the ﬁrst tooth is visible.
When you are prepping your child for their ﬁrst dental consultation, try not to include too many details. Too much information might cause unnecessary anxiety so just keep things simple. Don’t forget to keep a positive attitude up when discussing the upcoming visit but avoid giving false hope. Avoid saying that everything will be ﬁne because if the child ends up needing a treatment, he might lose trust in both the dentist and you and things can get pretty diﬃcult from that point onwards!
Parents, it’s perfectly normal and age-appropriate if your young child starts to cry, whine, wiggle or not want to be examined by a stranger. Remember to stay calm and trust the dentist and the staﬀ as they are experienced professionals who know how to work with children. Allow them to guide you too. Sometimes they might ask you to stay at a certain distance or might need your help to hold your little one’s hand which can provide comfort and prevent any sudden grabbing for dental instruments.
Many dental professionals will strongly disagree with promising your child a special treat if she behaves well at the dentist. If you say, “If you don’t cry, mummy will get you a lollipop.” might cause the child to start thinking how to “stage” a cry in order to get the lollipop later. Besides that, promising candy at a dentist’s oﬃce? It deﬁnitely sends the wrong message about having clean, healthy teeth too! Instead of promising a sugary treat, you can praise your child the good behaviour and oﬀer a toy or sticker as a form of encouragement AFTER the checkup or procedure.
So who’s ready for a visit to the dentist now?