Wondering how you can help your kids feel comfortable and happy at the dentist? Here are four ideas:
1. Start Young
By bringing your kids to the dentist for a first appointment at a young age, your kids are more likely to always feel comfortable in the office. Several professionals recommend taking your child to the dentist for the first time when they are one years old, or when they get their first tooth. Our Boise dentists will count their teeth and help them get acquainted with the office.
You can also help your kids understand how a dental appointment goes by playing pretend at home. For example, you can pretend to be the dentist and use a toothbrush to count your kid’s teeth, and then you can have her be the dentist and pretend the brush her favorite stuffed animal’s teeth.
2. Let the Doctor Set the Tone
Our Boise dentists love having a kid-friendly office, complete with a kids waiting room, televisions on the ceiling, and other ways to help kids have fun. That also means that our dentists know how to help kids feel most comfortable during a dental appointment, so let us choose the vocabulary of the appointment. For example, we don’t use words like “shot,” “hurt,” or “pain.” Instead, we say things like “sugar bug” for cavity and “painting the tooth” for the cavity filling process. We’re also used to kids whining or wiggling, so we know how to do our work while keeping your kids comfortable. That means we might request that you take a step back, or that you take a seat and hold your child’s hand. Just relax and watch us for cues!
Wondering what a kid’s appointment looks like? You can take a walk through a kid’s appointment, a blog we wrote to help you know what to expect.
3. Don’t Be Fearful
Kids can pick up on your fear, spoken or unspoken, and your fear will color their interpretation of any situation. A recent study found that if a dad is anxious at the dentist, their children will be, too. Even if you don’t say anything, kids can pick up on negative body language and other signals that you are feeling fearful. On the other hand, if you are relaxed and at ease, your kids will be, too.
4. Don’t Bribe Before the Appointment
Bribing a child by saying things like, “If you are good, you’ll get a lollipop after this,” is a pretty common way to buy a kid’s cooperation for something they don’t want to do. And that is why you shouldn’t offer any bribes for a child’s dentist appointment. Our Boise dentists work very hard to make sure that our children’s appointments are fun and relaxing, so there shouldn’t be any need for a bribe. And by offering a reward, you may give your child the impression that the appointment is something to dread—something that warrants a bribe! And besides all that, promising a sugary treat after a dentist visit is counterproductive.
With such a fun office and such incredible staff, we at Summit Dental do our best to make a kid’s appointment amazing, but you can help us make it even better with these four ideas.
How do you help kids learn to love the dentist?