Your child’s first visit to the dentist can be as scary as it is exciting. Here are a few of the techniques children’s dentists often use to make this experience a positive one.
Answer Their Questions
Kids have a natural curiosity, and answering their questions is one of the best ways to ease their fear of the unknown. For example, your child might spot dental handpiece repair kits sitting on the counter and ask what’s inside. This is a great opportunity for the professionals in the room to provide an explanation with a tutorial of the different tools and equipment. For children, less mystery typically equates to less anxiety. Sometimes kids want to sit on their parent’s lap until they are more comfortable and ready for the chair. This is perfectly normal and often encouraged by most dentists who work with young patients.
Prepare Them for the Checkup
The dentist will likely provide a kid-friendly overview of the different steps for the checkup, including the cleaning, the polishing, the flossing and the fluoride. Before working on the child, some dentists will first demonstrate on a stuffed toy, oversized model of the mouth or even the parent in the room. Once it has been explained, and if your child seems ready, the dentist will begin the cleaning.
Give Them Lots of Breaks and Encouragement
Most kids end up needing two things as they sit in the chair for their first dentist appointment: breaks and compliments. The dentist and the hygienist work together to clean your child’s teeth. However, in the process, they are also monitoring the comfort level and watching for any signs of excessive fear or distress. They will give lots of breaks, especially at the first visit. This allows you to check-in and repeat all of the dental team’s encouraging words.
After a trip to the prize bin and a few more compliments on the way out the door, your child will be excited to return for that eventual second trip to the dentist.