Let’s be honest, there are very few people who genuinely enjoy a trip to the dentist.
Even most adults will avoid it for as long as possible.
Kids aren’t excited about a doctor in a mask hovering over their face shining a bright light in their mouth and using sharp tools that make terrible sounds.
If you or your child is scared of the dentist, consider some of these 7 tips for a stress-free appointment
1. Start Dental Visits at a Young Age – The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that kids have their first dental visit when they get their first tooth.
Even if your child has no teeth, they should visit the dentist no later than their first birthday.
While this may seem like a very young age to begin, these early dental visits help your child get more comfortable with the dentist at a young age and lowers anxiety. If your child is older, the earlier you start visits the better.
2. Schedule Wisely – Plan dental appointments wisely.
For example, you may not want to schedule a morning appointment if your child struggles to wake up in the morning. Appointments around lunchtime often mean hungry kids.
Coming straight from school can be overstimulating and exhausting for many kids. Instead, find a time when they are likely to be relaxed, alert, and cooperative.
3. Consider a Pretend Visit – Have fun teaching your child about the dentist with a little simulation at home. Sit on the couch and have them lay down with their head in your lap. Count their teeth, brush lightly or floss their teeth. This will help them to be comfortable with the dentist’s chair and can be a fun bonding experience.
4. Choose a Pediatric Dentist – The right dentist can make all the difference in your child’s experience.
Pediatric dentists are trained in children’s oral health; but also have extensive training in child development and psychology. They are wonderful at communicating and dealing with young patients. They have an exorbitant amount of patience, and the entire office is designed with kids in mind. They go to great lengths to create a welcoming, fun, and exciting environment that is calming to children.
It’s great if your child develops a connection with the dentist because they will keep visiting the dentist, even as adults.
5. Read Books About Dentists or Watch Videos – The local library can be a great resource to find books about dental visits and dental care to help your child be prepared. You can also find videos online of real dentist visits to give them a “behind the scenes” look.
This will help them to know what to expect and understand that nothing bad happens at checkups.
6. Give Positive Reinforcement – Be careful not to say things like, “You get ice cream if you don’t cry” because this only tells the child there might be a reason to be upset.
Instead, praise your kid after the appointment for being brave and reinforce all they did well.
A simple reward after the appointment can do wonders for them to be comfortable next time.
7. Stay Calm – Your child will feed off of your nerves, it’s normal for them to be scared but keep yourself as calm and relaxed as possible.
Trust the dentist to handle the situation and provide comfort to your child without mirroring their anxiety yourself. It might be worthwhile to look into sedation dentistry. Dr. Kemper is one of the only pediatric dentists to provide sedation dentistry in Louisville.
Find a Caring and Supportive Dentist
The dentist you choose can make a huge difference in your child’s experience.
If you try one that you don’t love, shop around and find one that works better for your family. When your child is scared of the dentist, it is essential that you look for the right professional to take care of their dental health. Look into different options such as sedation dentistry.
The dentist shouldn’t be something you merely tolerate twice a year, it should be a partner in your family’s health as your children grow up.
Call our office and schedule an appointment today.