How to Make Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment a Pleasant Experience
It is no secret that visiting the dentist can be nerve-wracking for children, especially after a series of bad experiences. This is why the first visit, in particular, is the most crucial as it can determine how your child is going to feel about dentists in general. As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to make sure that your child will leave the dental office with a positive experience. This article will tell you what you can do to ease your child’s anxiety before going to their first dentist appointment, to make their first dental visit a pleasant one.
Tips to Calm Your Child’s Nerves When Going to the Dentist
Before taking your kid to the dentist office, you have to tell your child about the visits without giving it all away. Here are some tips on what to tell and what not to tell your child:
- If they ask specific questions, give them straightforward answers. Refrain from trying to answer more complicated or detailed questions that you may not necessarily understand yourself. Leave these questions for the dentist to answer as they are experienced with explaining things to children in simple terms and in a non-threatening way.
- Do not add on to your child’s stress by telling them that it is going to hurt.
- Avoid talking about your own negative dental experience that you have had.
- Let your child know how crucial it is to keep their teeth healthy with the proper oral health care. Also, assure them that the pediatric dentist is a friendly doctor who knows exactly what they are doing.
- Do not promise your child a reward for going to the dentist.
Remember, it is natural for children and young persons to get anxious and fearful when going to the dental office. Some young children find it extremely stressful when being separated from their parents, while others may be frightened of the unknown or pain. A good dentist who deals with fearful kids every day will know how to handle your child’s anxiety and ease their fears.
Techniques That Dentists Use to Calm Children’s Nerves
Children express their fears in different ways. Some may lash out while others may burst into tears. There are many different techniques that dentists often use to calm children, including the following techniques:
1. Explanation and Demonstration
With a friendly tone, the dentist will explain a procedure to the child in simple words. They may also demonstrate the procedure on a doll or a person so that the child will know what to expect. If the child refuses to cooperate, the dentist may use a firmer voice.
2. Positive Reinforcement
The dentist will give the child praises and compliments as a reward for good behavior.
3. Diversion of Attention
To take the child’s attention away from the procedure, the dentist will tell them stories or try to engage them in conversations.
4. Body Language
The dentist will also use body language to encourage good behavior and discourage negative behavior. For example, a smile will encourage cooperation while a frown will discourage a tantrum.
In some cases, the use of sedation may be necessary to help calm the child. Two common types of sedation used in children are nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” and an oral sedative such as Valium.
When to Book Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
Your child’s baby teeth matter and it is important to bring your child in for regular dental visits to make sure they have good dental health, from the moment their first teeth come in. You can book your child’s first dentist appointment when they are 12 months of age, or six months after their first tooth comes in.
If you’re looking for a family dental clinic in Edmonton, Alberta, Kensington Dental Clinic is your best option. We offer dental care to patients of all ages, from children to seniors, so we can provide dental services to all members of your family.
Get in touch with us today to book your next dental appointment!