It’s totally understandable for children to feel nervous when it’s time to go to the dentist. In fact, many adults hate going to the dentist. However, as the parent, you have the ability to ensure your children feel as comfortable as possible when it’s time to make these routine visits. By incorporating the following tips into your arsenal, you can move forward with ease as you teach your children the importance of dental health.
1. Prep Your Children in Advance
Take the time to prepare your children in advance. Sometimes, you can reduce anxiety and fears by telling a child what’s happening. Let them know that the dentist is there to help them. Talk about the importance of dental visits. By using the right language, you can help your children view the dentist as one of the good guys who is there to save the day. When your child is able to create a positive association with dental visits, this can help to make fears disappear.
2. Provide a Source of Comfort
When a child is young, it’s not uncommon to have a physical source of security. Whether it’s a blanket, a stuffed animal or a toy, allow them to bring that source of comfort with them to the appointment. Having a familiar source of happiness and comfort can help them adjust when they’re in a potentially uncomfortable situation. Ask your dentist beforehand to see if they allow an item to be taken with your child during your visit.
3. Stay with Your Children
Before you arrive for your appointment, call ahead and find out about their policy regarding parents in the room. Find a dentist that allows you to be in the room with your child. In many cases, a familiar face can be the most calming factor when they’re getting their teeth cleaned. If you’re able to sit nearby and hold their hand, this can provide comfort. If you have multiple children, bring an additional adult. That adult can stay with the other children in the waiting room while you stay with the child who’s getting their teeth cleaned. This will allow you to fully focus on the one who needs immediate comfort and attention.
4. Pick the Right Dentist
Find a dentist who has a great rapport with children. There’s nothing like having a dentist who knows how to be personable, make children comfortable and create a great environment that they feel comfortable entering. Look for a dentist in Waterloo who understands the nuances of working with children because in many ways, children and adults aren’t alike. When you pick the right dentist, it can completely turn a dental visit into a treat that the children look forward to. The process of pediatric dental work usually revolves around routine cleanings that don’t hurt. There’s no real reason for children to feel terrified of the dentist. However, the wrong dentist and the wrong environment can deeply intimidate a child to the point of never wanting to return. Choose wisely in order to guarantee comfort.
5. Remain Patient with Your Children
Always do your best to remain patient with your child. If they sense that you’re frustrated, upset or annoyed, this can drive them further inward and make them even more scared. As the parent, your ultimate job is to serve as their personal safe space. If they don’t feel like they can be vulnerable in their fears, it’s going to be harder for them to trust that you’re going to support them in other ways. Fear is an emotion in the same way that happiness is. Resist the temptation to punish them for feeling fearful. Instead, use supportive language and phrases. Tell them you’re there for them. Remind them that it’s okay to feel their feelings, cry or be afraid. However, remind them to breathe deeply as they get through it. If it’s too overwhelming, reschedule for another day.
If the first few visits don’t go smoothly, don’t consider this as a sign that you’re doing a bad job. Instead, recognize that it might take some time for your child to adjust. Now, if they have debilitating breakdowns at the thought of visiting the dentist, you might have a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. However, with time, care and attention, you can get your children to a place where they feel comfortable when it’s time to visit the dentist.