Bringing your child to dentist could be a daunting experience not only for the child but also for their parents. Kids usually get fearful of the unknown, and become uncooperative, or the dentist might not be friendly to younger patients.
Here are 5 tips recommended by Lara Village Dental to best prepare your child prior to their first dental appointments to ensure a positive experience.
- Start by being a great role model
Your child looks up to you. They constantly learn from you. They watch and adopt your reactions when facing similar situations. Parents should adopt good daily oral hygiene, dietary habits and regular dental visits, so that the children would follow the same dental routine and establish the foundation of good oral health from early on.
We understand that are lot of adults might be quite anxious about the dentist too, most commonly due to a previous traumatic experience. However, such bad experience should not be shared to a child especially because they may not necessarily need the same procedures themselves. A child can definitely sense anxiety from their parents and relate this to their own experience.
- Schedule first dental visit as early as possible
Good habits start young. Children should have their first dental visit as soon as they turn one and should be no later before their second birthday.
Like adults, children see the dentist regularly tend to have less severe dental problems, as problems are usually caught early, and preventative treatment and early intervention is better implemented. Remember, it’s always easier to prevent a problem than treating them later! This will also mean that the child would experience less traumatic treatment if any is required at all.
- Role play the first dental visit
Children love to learn through role play. You could do this at home with your child to better prepare them about the first dental visit at home. You could get them to lie down on a couch, use a small mirror to pretend counting their teeth, make good encouragement when they are cooperative with your instructions. This will also be the perfect time to teach them about how to brush their teeth.
- Talk to them about their first dental visit
It is good to talk to your children, especially before their first dental visit, what will be expected. Try to explain to them using positive phrases such as “The dentist will help to make your teeth very strong and healthy.”
Cartoon videos and books about dental visits are also good resources to spark their interests in visiting the dentist and eliminate their fear.
If your child is going to receive any dental treatment (fillings, extractions), and they feel a little bit nervous, be honest with them, or the child may lose trust in both their parents and the dentist. Explain to them that things may get a little bit uncomfortable, but the dentist will be very gentle and will be able to put special medicines (local anesthetics injections if necessary) to make the tooth to go to sleep (numb). However, definitely try to AVOID using words such as “HURT”, “PAIN”, “SORE”, “SHOT” or “NEEDLES”!
- Choose the right dentist and the clinic
Dental clinics and dentists who are friendly, welcoming and experience at treatment children could play a major factor in terms of shaping up you children’s life-long attitude towards going to the dentist. We pride our clinic for being children-friendly, and all our dentists are very experienced and great with children of all age.
If your child is between 2-17 years of age, they may be eligible for BULK-BILLED dental treatment (Medicare Child Dental Benefits Schedule).
Click HERE to check for eligibility.
Contact us now on 03 5282 5272 or Book Online for your children’s next dental appointment. We look forward to seeing you and your little one.