Parenting takes a lot of responsibility. More than just the fun trips to the park or play center, there are also those mandatory visits for your child’s health and welfare that can seem quite daunting. One of these is a trip to the dentist.
You’ve probably seen that scenario: mom takes the toddler to the dentist, and all fear and tantrums fall loose. For many, it is a pleasant experience, while for others, it’s something that definitely takes a lot of patience.
If you’re preparing to take your child to their first dental visit, here are some tips from a pediatric dentist in Austin, Texas to make it easier for you.
1. Practice At Home
Kids love to play pretend. Think about how your daughter loves to pretend that she is at the supermarket. Or, how your son loves to pretend that he’s at a construction site. In the same manner, as your children pretend to be doctors, take the time to include a dentist scenario during your playtime. Remember also to switch turns, first act as the dentist, and then let your kid be the dentist as well. If the budget permits, go ahead and purchase dental toys.
Because you have painted a fun dental scenario in the minds of your young children, they already know what to expect. In their next visit, they’ll undoubtedly start feeling much more excited and feeling less terrified.
2. Set Your Appointment At A Good Time
As a parent, you should know when your child is feeling the happiest throughout the day. For most of the younger children, it’s during the morning, after they’re revitalized from a good night’s sleep. For older children, it’s usually in the afternoon.
Depending on your child, you should perfectly synchronize their happy time and their dentist appointments. Especially for your older children who need longer and more grueling procedures, such as having braces done. You’ll have to time this properly to avoid crankiness and impatience.
When you do this, you can avoid any unwanted extra tantrums because you have a kid who wants to take a nap, or is looking for their milk bottle.
3. Be Mindful With Your Words
This advice applies to those who have children who are already in the toddler phase, where they can associate needles and injections with pain or blood. As you prepare them for the dentist, if they ask you questions about what is going to happen, try to be extra cautious not to mention any word that might be sensitive for them.
Remember, kids tend to exaggerate their imagination, the last thing that you would want is a screaming toddler thinking that a simple cleaning session will lead to a bloody mess.
4. Bring Their Favorite Toy
Most young children have either a favorite toy or a security blanket. Whatever it is that gives them more comfort, apart from yourself, do remember to bring it with you as well.
It will make your little girl feel so much better if Dolly or Teddy is going with her to the dentist, too. It’s like as if they have a friend to go with. To make things even better, your dentist will most likely play pretend as well, like as if they’re also cleaning up the mouth and teeth of your kid’s favorite toy.
5. Talk To Your Children About Dentists
The reason that most children are afraid of dentists is that a dental clinic generally looks intimidating. If this is the first time for them to encounter a dental setting, then you should naturally expect them to be afraid to the point that you’ll have to drag them along.
To help ease both of your children and yourself, make it a habit to talk to your children about dentists. Here are also other ways for you to introduce this concept to them:
- Enlighten them about the benefits that dentists can do for them.
- Use dentists in your bedtime stories.
- Show them pictures of children in a dental clinic.
The recommended time to see a dentist is when the first tooth breaks out. On average, that’s around six months. But, many choose to delay because they feel it isn’t needed yet, or the idea daunts them.
Now that you’ve got these tips to guide you, you can be more prepared and less anxious about your child’s dentist visit. You can change the scenario from a scary and tantrum-filled one to visits where your child will come in happier and more relaxed, with all their fears finally overcome!