Does your blood run cold at the mere thought of seeing your dentist? If yes, you shouldn’t be surprised if your children feel the same way about their pediatric dentist in Raleigh. Dental anxiety is not uncommon, but it shouldn’t stop you from taking your kids to have their bi-annual checkups.
Giving up probably crossed your mind one too many times, but if you cave, you’ll be accountable for their oral health. Luckily, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you win this battle. The key is to mentally prepare your child to meet their dentist. All these fears start in their head. Your goal is to make them understand that going to see a pediatric dentist is good for them.
Helpful Tips to Prepare Your Children to Meet Their Dentist
Find a Reliable Pediatric Dentist
You can take your child to your dentist, but if you ask us, we prefer that you find a dentist specializing in children’s oral health. Pediatric dentists spend two to three years of additional training after four years in dental school. Their primary focus is treating children. The training allows them to understand the unique dental needs of children from infancy through adolescence.
Explain What Will Happen During the Appointment
Studies show that parents can pass this on to their children when they have dental anxiety. Be careful with the words you choose and be mindful of your body language and facial expressions because your children are watching you. If you are scared, try as hard as possible to hide your emotions from your children. Don’t let it show, because if your kids see you’re nervous, they’ll feel anxious too.
Also, don’t invalidate their feelings. Let your children know what they feel is normal, especially if it’s their first time, but you can help ease their worries by using positive reinforcement. If your child agrees to go, praise them for their bravery. When you explain what to expect during their dental visit, give them an overview of what they can expect once they get there.
Role-Playing Can Help
During your free time, role play with your child to make them feel comfortable. You can do a fun role-playing activity a few days or weeks before their scheduled appointment. Pretend to be the dentist while your child is the patient.
Try to re-enact what happens during the appointment, like telling your child to open their mouth wide. You can swap roles too! You’ll be the patient and your child will be the dentist. You can also use a stuffed toy as a patient.
Watch Video Clips or Read Books
Plenty of videos online feature kids happily going to the dentist. If you let your child watch these videos, they’ll see that dental visits are not as bad as they imagined. You can also read books about children having their teeth cleaned and examined by the dentist.
Examples of entertaining books that relate to dental visits are The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss, Dentist Trip (Peppa Pig), Alicia Padron’s Brush Brush Brush, Stan and Jan Berenstain’s The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist, and a book written by P. J. Shaw entitled Elmo Visits the Dentist.
Bring a Toy
Bringing a favorite stuffed toy or animal to the dental office during their appointment can give them a sense of security and comfort, and this can minimize their anxiety.
The Right Timing is Everything
The best time to schedule your child’s appointment is when you know they’ll be in a generally good mood. Don’t pick a slot that’s close to their nap time because you’ll end up with a cranky and irritable kid. Pediatric dentists suggest scheduling appointments in the morning when they are still refreshed and energized.
Looking for a Pediatric Dentist in Raleigh?
Dental visits don’t have to be scary. When applying these strategies, your child might get excited about their first dental visit. Let your kids know that you will always be with them to support and encourage them.
And if they have questions, don’t hesitate to answer. One of the most important tips we can give you is to find a friendly and experienced pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists use special techniques to make your child feel at ease during their visit.
At Tyron Family Dentistry, we offer an extensive array of dental treatments bespoke to your child’s needs. Our pediatric dentists have the skills, knowledge, and training to deliver superior quality dental care.
We enjoy building a long-term relationship with our patients, and we make sure we give them the care and attention they deserve to restore their smiles and oral health. Contact us today for an appointment.