Taking your child to the dentist doesn’t have to mean an unpleasant experience. Showing them that going for a dental checkup can actually be fun is easier than you might think. Starting early makes a big difference. It is best that your child’s idea of going to the dentist is a relaxing, positive thing, rather than something that means being in discomfort and pain. You can accomplish this with early routine dental visits. By starting early, your child can get used to going to the dentist without having a lot of anxiety about the process. It will also establish trust between the child and the dentist early.
Even though they don’t have their permanent teeth yet, a dentist can get a good idea of how your child’s permanent teeth are growing and coming in. Addressing early issues such as bottle mouth or early cavities, for example, can help prevent these issues from extending after the first 20 baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth start to come in.
Parents can also help by educating their children about why going to the dentist is so important. There are many wonderful children’s books about the first trip to the dentist. Reading time can serve to reassure your child that going to the dentist is not only something that has to be done but can actually be fun. Explaining what will be happening during reading time help them to feel less anxious. It’s best to focus on how the dentist will help their teeth, rather than telling them about what can go wrong with their teeth if they don’t go.
To make the first visits as non-threating as possible the decor and the overall feel of the office will be geared toward making children feel comfortable. Dentists also use tricks like offering movies to watch or giving them a video game to play that they can look at on the ceiling while they are examined. These kinds of distractions can take their minds off of something that they might have been nervous about. Finally, most dentists also offer some sort of prize or treat for a visit to further establish trust and help your child enjoy their visit.