By making dental visits fun for your kids, you set them up for positive experiences going to the dentist through their lifetime. Here are a five creative ways to prepare your child to see a pediatric dentist:
1. Choose Your Words Carefully
Avoid using negative phrases when talking to your child about their first dental visit. Refrain from using words such as “drill” and “needles,” as they can increase anxiety in your child. Instead, explain that the dentist will “count” and take “photos” of their teeth. These words are easier for your child to visualize and understand why they attend the dentist.
2. Explain the Dentist is Important
Likely, your child wonders why they are going to a pediatric dentist. Rather than their feeling forced to go, explain the visit’s purpose. Your explanation could be, for example, that the dentist likes making children’s’ smiles brighter, healthier, and free of pains. Also, help them appreciate their teeth by encouraging them to practice smiling in front of a mirror.
3. Playtime Activity
A fun way to prepare your youngster is by setting up a pretend dental visit. Set up your child’s favorite dolls as though they are going for a checkup and use props for the dental chair, toothbrush, and dental floss. Use a cup as a way to practice the rinse part of a regular visit. Your child can be a pretend patient while you act as the dentist. Through playtime activity, they learn what to expect at an appointment.
4. Bring the Favorite Items Along
Help make a visit to the dentist fun by bringing along your child’s favorite stuffed animals or a treasured blanket. Take these items along for the first visit as a comforting aid, and bring them for future times too if needed. Their familiarity makes a dental office less scary to kids. Additional tip: Bring along their most cherished book to read at the dentist; the words can calm them.
5. Role Model
Model effective dental behaviors for your little one. Let them join you in the bathroom as you brush and floss your teeth. When they see you, who they look up to, taking care of your teeth then they will want to do so too. You are also showing them how to brush properly and floss, which they may not fully understand how to do yet.
These five tips are effective ways to make your child’s visit to a pediatric dentist more fun, whether it is their first time to the dentist or they have completed a few checkups already. Create a positive environment to encourage good oral health!