Is this what you want your child to look like at a dental visit?
Are your kids afraid to go to the dentist? Lots of kids are, but there are ways to ease that fear and anxiety.
first, whatever you are feeling about the dentist is going to be projected, so if you feel anxious about the dentist (see our article abut fears of the dentists for adults!!) your kids can sense that and will also feel anxious. Try your best to project and positive energy about going to the dentist. try the same line you use about police officers “they are there to help you, and they are your friend!” really, its true!
another great tip for kids is to schedule what we like to call a “happy visit” this allows the child to meet the dentist, see the office, take a “ride” in the dental chair, look at instruments that we use, play with the “straw” or suction that we use, smell the office, put on some latex gloves and a mask so they are scary, sometimes it may take more than one “happy visit” but your child should feel safe and comfortable in the dental office.
look for a dentist who provides a “kid friendly” environment. are there toys or books or coloring sheets in the waiting area? Does he or she have music or stories that kids can listen to during their appointment. These little types of things can really add up.
Some offices don’t allow parents in the back with their children. There are (valid) reasons for this, but we are different at our office. We welcome the parents back with their kids (if they want to!) We certainly aren’t the only office that does this, but if they idea of being separated from your child during procedures bothers you, call around to several offices to see what the policy is.
You can visit the office by yourself first to see if you get a good vibe from the office. Anything from, cleanliness to friendliness. It’s important that you as the parent are comfortable with the office. We are a general dentistry office (although we also do root canals, orthodontics, and surgeries) so we see adults and children, this is great because if you already have a relationship with the office, you must already feel (fairly!) comfortable going there. If you are visiting a pediatric office, ask for a tour to make sure you as the parent get a good vibe before taking your child.
A small but effective tip is to use certain wording. Tell your child “we get to go to the dentist” instead of “we have to go to the dentist.
Depending on the age of your child, you could bring an item of comfort with you to the appointment for the child to hold. a stuffed animal, a favorite toy, a blanket, something that brings the child comfort.
Ask the dentist or dental assistant to explain (in kid friendly terms!) exactly what is going to happen or is happening. It helps the child feel in control.
Schedule appointment time during your childs best time of day. is he or she a morning person? schedule an 8 AM appointment, if your child already has a hard time in the mornings, shoot for a later in the day appointment.
Praise the child for the things he or she does well! make sure the dentist or dental assistant does as well!
I hope these tips help you with any concerns you had about bringing your child to the dentist. We love to see children in our office, and yes, we have coloring pages, and toys, and balloons for our patients! We would love to meet you and your children, please give us a call at 719-576-1730 to schedule your first “happy visit” Ask for Rhonda!