Going to the dentist for the first time can be a scary thing for children. One of the biggest fears is simply the fear of the unknown. Ensuring that your child is somewhat familiar with the dentist office and staff that will help them to keep a healthy smile can go a long way in easing their fears and making their visit a much more pleasant one. Here are some tips to ease your child's fears:
- Visit the dentist with your child prior to their first appointment. Help your child understand what to expect on their visit by taking a tour of the practice and asking the dental assistant or dental hygienist to explain what will be done and demonstrate how each instrument will be used. Not only will this help ease your child’s fears, but it also creates a wonderful learning opportunity!
- For slightly order children, bring them along to observe your routine dental cleaning and exam. This will allow them to ask questions, see how each instrument will be used, eliminate potential fears by observing your experience and help them understand the importance of practicing good oral health behaviors. (Contact your dental office prior to your appointment to advise them that your child will be with you.)
- Regular dental visits will enable your child to develop a sense of familiarity and comfort with the dental team and practice as well provide vital preventive care necessary for a healthy smile.
- Reinforcing concepts such as daily brushing and flossing, by posting a calendar and rewarding your child a gold star or sticker for every day of excellent oral care. Help get your child excited about their next dental visit by bringing the calendar with you to show the dentist.
- Allow your child to bring their favorite toy or blanket with them on their dental visit to give them an added sense of security and comfort.
- Reading can have a soothing and calming effect on your child. Bring their favorite book to read to them during their dental appointment.
- Let your child wear a costume on their dental visit. This special treat can help them view going to the dentist as a fun activity.
- Be positive about going to the dentist. Avoid grumbling about your own dental appointments and help your child understand that going to the dentist helps them keep their smile healthy.
For more information, visit www.AmericasToothFairy.org ...because every child deserves a healthy smile®