It’s time to schedule your child’s pediatric dentist appointment. There’s a chance they’re not over-the-moon excited about having their teeth checked and cleaned — they might even be afraid of it. As a parent, there are plenty of ways you can reduce your child’s anxiety — before, during and after the appointment. Before long, your child will be a seasoned pro who handles a dentist’s visit with ease, and maybe even a little excitement.
3 Things to Do Before Going to the Dentist
- Give your child the dentist lowdown: Some surprises can be fun… others, not so much. Instead of springing the dentist’s appointment on your child, give them a sense of control by preparing them for what’s ahead. Walk them through each step of the process, including the funny tastes, smells or sights they may experience. If they’ve visited the dentist before, reference positive past experiences to help calm any nerves.
- Explain the importance of a dentist visit: Open up a reassuring conversation about why we visit the dentist in the first place. Explain why we need healthy teeth and gums, and how their dentist will help keep those teeth in tip-top shape.
- Communicate with their dentist: If you’re particularly worried about your child’s dentist phobia, let the dentist know ahead of time. Most dentists — particularly those who specialize in kids — will already provide professional, calming service to each patient. Communicating your concerns to the dentist may help them offer extra sensitivity.
3 Tips to Soothe Anxiety During the Appointment
You’ve done everything you can ahead of the appointment. Now, it’s time to face the music! During the visit, there are plenty of ways you can help your child stay calm and anxiety-free:
- Bring along a distraction: Whether it’s a favorite toy, a coloring book or a set of new stickers, a fun distraction is a surefire way to soothe any nerves. This will give your child something enjoyable to focus on as they wait, even in the chair, if it’s permitted by the dentist. Infusing some fun into the experience will also help create a positive impression of the dentist’s office for future visits.
- Stay calm: Speak in a soothing and reassuring voice. Only use positive language and avoid any negative references, like “injection” or “pain.”
- Encourage your child to get creative: Give your child a task during their appointment. If they’re too old to play with toys, or their dentist needs them to stay still, there are plenty of ways to use their imagination as a distraction. For example, challenge them to count the number of ceiling tiles while they lay in the chair. Start creating a story together while you are in the waiting room, and ask them to think up the next leg of the journey during the appointment.
3 Ways to Promote a Positive Dentist Experience After Your Visit
- Reinforce positive behavior: Reward your child’s bravery with a post-dentist treat, like a new toy or a visit to the playground. They’ll learn to associate a dentist’s appointment with warm and fuzzies rather than scary experiences, and they’ll be more likely to face the dentist’s chair with courage the next time around. Remember to avoid sweet treats! After all, the purpose of the visit to the dentist is to keep their teeth clean and healthy.
- Reflect on their experience: Talk through the visit with your kid. Ask them what they learned, how they felt, and if anything surprised them. Focus on the positives of the experience, and reference this when you bring them in for their next appointment.
- Find a pediatric dentist: If, after all of this effort, the visit still didn’t go as planned, consider bringing your child to a dentist that specializes in children. While a family dentist you already know may feel like the most comfortable option, pediatric dentistry provides the best child-friendly care possible.
Contact Fox Kids Dentistry to Schedule a Pediatric Dentist Consultation
If you’re on the lookout for the perfect pediatric dentist for your child, look no further than Fox Kids Dentistry. We offer experienced pediatric dentistry as well as pediatric orthodontics. No referrals are needed — simply schedule a consultation online or give us a call at (503) 223 -5039 and we’d love to learn more about your child and their needs!