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Kids’ Dental Checkups: 9 Tips for a Stress-Free Dentist Visit ”
Dental anxiety is one of the leading challenges in pediatric dentistry. Approximately 9% of children experience dental fear or stress.
Besides fear, there are a number of other things that can add to the stress of your child’s dentist visit. Poor preparation, unfamiliarity, and lack of routine can make a regular dentist visit stressful for your child.
The following is a list of nine tips that can help make your kid’s dental checkups stress-free. Keep reading to find out what they are!
1. Find a Pediatric Dentist
There are many dentists out there who specialize in pediatric dentistry or family dentistry. A dentist for kids is already familiar with children and knows how to make kids comfortable. Pediatric dentists usually have toys, games, or comforting decorations in their offices.
A pediatric dentist is someone who knows how to talk to a child about their teeth. This will soothe your child and make dental checkups less frightening.
2. Schedule it Strategically
A dentist visit can cause some anxiety in your child, so it is best to schedule the appointment strategically. Don’t plan an appointment during a regular nap time or right before a meal. If your child is hungry or tired it might exacerbate their stress.
It might also help if you have a fun activity planned for after the dentist visit. That way your child has something to look forward to after the appointment. This may help ease their anxiety.
3. Do The Paperwork in Advance
Many dental offices will let you do some of the paperwork in advance. If you can bring completed paperwork with you or do it online, it often results in less time spent in the waiting room. This means your child has less time to be nervous.
By decreasing the amount of time spent in the dentist’s office, you can make the visit faster and easier for your child.
4. Bring a Toy With You
Sometimes bringing a beloved toy with you to the dentist’s office will help make your child more comfortable. A favorite stuffed animal or a soothing blanket will show them there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Try to avoid bringing toys that will become a distraction. Absorbing games or toys with many pieces are not good choices. Choose something that will bring comfort but not distract from the task at hand.
5. Educate Your Child
One of the best things you can do to achieve a stress-free dental visit is to educate your child about the dentist. This means showing them what the process is like and what they should expect. There are a lot of different ways you can do this:
- Read them children’s books about going to the dentist
- Watch movies or television programs that include a trip to the dentist
- Play dentist at home
Find fun and creative ways to incorporate talking about the dentist into your child’s routine. Your kid will not only learn about the dentist, but they will also feel comfortable when the subject of the dentist comes up. Playful games help them see that there is nothing to be afraid of.
6. Model Good Behavior
When figuring out how to behave in the world, you are your child’s first source of information. This means that if you model appropriate behavior, they are likely to follow suit.
When it comes to the dentist, you should never speak negatively about an upcoming appointment or try to get out of it. Instead, schedule your appointments every six months and make sure you attend them. This will show your child that they will also be expected to visit the dentist.
And with regard to oral hygiene, make sure you model the behavior you want to see in your children. Brush twice per day and floss daily. Make oral hygiene a fun part of the day and good oral hygiene will become like muscle memory to your child.
7. Begin When They Are Young
By the time that your child has their first birthday, they should have had their first dental checkup. From there on out, you should make sure your child keeps regular appointments — ideally, every six months. By making dental visits habitual early on, you can lower the chances that your child gets nervous about their appointments.
8. Sit With Them During the Appointment
Many pediatric dentists will let you sit in the room with your child during their appointment. With really small children, they may even get to sit in your lap. Simply being there with your kid can help reduce the amount of stress that they feel.
After a while, your child may come to the realization that the dentist is nothing to be scared of. It could be that the next time they have a dental checkup, they don’t need you to come in with them anymore.
9. Avoid Bribery At All Costs
Many parents think that bribing their child to go to a dental visit will help. A bribe may get them into the office, but it won’t decrease the amount of stress they feel with regard to their appointment. Bribery is a temporary solution that could have negative consequences for your child’s health.
Additionally, once your child receives a bribe for going to the dentist, they will come to expect one after every checkup.
Instead, use the above strategies to ease your child’s stress. This will help them become comfortable with the dentist and cement healthy oral hygiene habits that will last for the rest of their life.
Ease Your Child’s Stress About Dental Checkups
Many children feel anxiety when it comes to dental checkups. This can result in stressful appointments and neglected oral hygiene. But by using the above nine tips, you can ensure that your kid has a comfortable dentist appointment every time.
Do you have more questions regarding your child’s physical or mental health? Visit our Parenting section and keep reading.
Kids’ Dental Checkups: 9 Tips for a Stress-Free Dentist Visit