Although good oral hygiene is a crucial aspect of your child’s overall health, visits to the dentist’s office may be a very stressful situation for him or her. Sitting in a large chair in the middle of a sterile room surrounded by dental instruments and noise can create havoc for your child’s psyche. Reinforcing the importance of trips to the dentist as part of maintaining good health should start early. There are some ways to alleviate some of your child’s anxiety prior to the visit.
Schedule appointments with a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist and dental hygienist are specially trained to work with children. Their entire office, including the office staff, is geared toward communicating with both children and parents. Both the waiting and exam rooms should be more inviting environments with child-specific décor and reading material.
Validate your child’s concerns. Don’t brush off your child’s anxiety and concerns about going to the dentist with statements such as, “It will be fine.” Instead, listen to what he or she says, and try to allay their fears with telling them that you understand. Follow that with a rundown of how the visit will go, so they have an idea of what to expect.
Show your child that you aren’t afraid of the dentist. Children follow their parents’ example, and if they see that you are not concerned about your upcoming dental appointment, they may replicate that behavior. As your own appointment approaches, it might be helpful to say something along the lines of being excited to have your teeth cleaned.
Allow your child some control over the process. Ask your child which day or time they would prefer to have their teeth cleaned or procedure performed. Allowing them some control over the process may put their anxiety at ease.
Discuss the procedure and technology with your child. If your child has questions about what is going to occur specifically, it may be best to take them for a meet and greet session with the dental office and dentist. They can get a feel for the environment and perhaps have an opportunity to be introduced to some of the machinery.
Try and schedule the dental visit with a fun activity. If you can arrange your child’s dental visits to coincide with a fun activity, it might serve to leave a positive impression on his memory of the trip to the dentist’s office. Perhaps you can go out for lunch afterwards or take a trip to a place he likes to go.
We’re focused on making the dental experience a positive one for both you and your child. At Greater Houston Pediatric Dentistry, we want to provide you with outstanding pediatric dental care in a welcoming environment. It’s important that our patients and their parents know that we care about their comfort and well-being.
Our services are available in West Houston and Katy, TX. Feel free to contact us to learn more about our practice.