Oral Health issues can be a source of conflict and stress in families, especially in families with young children. Not only are dentists expensive, but going to the dentist can also be a fearful experience for your child. Not all dentists are experienced in working with families. A family dentist can not only calm your child’s fears and anxieties during their visit, but they can also help make your next trip to the dentist a positive experience.
Your child’s oral health becomes important from the moment they begin teething. By taking good care of their teeth early in life, you’ll prevent problems later. If you’re anxious about taking them to a pediatric dental clinic for a routine checkup, there are some ways to make that job easier.
Try to schedule your appointments for the morning rather than delaying them until the afternoon. Aiming for the morning ensures your child is well-rested, which means they’re less likely to feel cranky.
Securing a morning appointment between 9 am, and 11 am gives you enough time to prepare too. When you’re not feeling rushed, your little one will pick up on your calm demeanor, and they’ll be more likely to remain calm themselves.
Family Dentists Have Experience with Children
Family dentists specialize in working with children and typically have experience in calming the fears of anxious children and parents. Whether your child is crying, biting, or refusing to enter the room, the dentist probably knows how to deal with it. A family dentist can escort you in making sure your child’s visit is as calming and safe as possible.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a parent is to treat your dentist as a mysterious person that your child needs to fear. If you choose to use your own dentist, talk about them favorably and discuss how they’ve helped to improve your oral health. You may also want to discuss how your child can become an active participant in protecting their own oral health.
If you’re not using your own dentist, try using one who specializes in pediatric dental care. They’ll probably have a child-friendly waiting area, so your little one will feel relaxed from the start. Again, make sure you discuss how important the dentist is in keeping your little one healthy and how their visits can have a positive impact on the way your child feels.
Special Tools and Toys
Family dentists are excellent at having specific, child-friendly materials around, such as various flavors of toothpaste, music, or even movies. Many also have small toys and prizes for the child to choose from at the end of the visit. It’s amazing how small things like toothpaste and toys can calm a child’s anxiety.
Naturally, not every child will understand your efforts to demystify their dentist and discuss the importance of their oral health. When it comes to younger children, they may want to play instead of listening.
Create a pretend dentist’s chair, get your child’s toothbrush out, and grab a light. By playing at looking in each other’s mouths, your child may feel a lot less worried about the appointment ahead.
Family Dentists Understand Children’s Fears
Family dentists understand each and every one of the fears your child is having. Whether they fear pain or the restriction of opening their mouth, a family dentist knows how to educate your child and put them at ease. They may ask the child how they are feeling frequently to make the child feel more in control. They may also explain to the child what they’re doing to make the process seem less foreign and unknown. Family dentists tend to be gentle and cautious when working in a child’s mouth.
Although it may seem useful to say “It won’t hurt” to your child, all they’ll hear is the word “hurt”, and that may scare them. Instead, let your child know that their visit to the dentist is to check that their smile is okay. By avoiding negative words altogether, you’ll avoid creating an unpleasant association with spending time in the dentist’s chair. With any luck, it’ll help your little one avoid feeling scared.
Family Dentists Know How to Interact With Kids
Because family dentists tend to see more kids in their offices, they frequently know how to interact with them in a kind and compassionate way. Many family dentists use humor and jokes to put the kids they see at ease or tell them they will get a prize at the end if they are brave. Some may also ask if the child would like to watch a movie during their procedure. Family dentists are trained to know how to work with kids because problems will arise, and they need to know how to handle situations like outbreaks, tantrums, fear, and many more. Sometimes they will have cool art or familiar cartoon characters in their office that will take the children’s attention away from the fear by making them feel safe or confident to go through the procedure.
Get a Family Dentist Today
The first time your baby smiles at you is a truly remarkable experience. Those first few smiles are largely reflexive, as they’re little more than a random facial expression. The first smile as a direct sign of happiness doesn’t start to appear until your baby is six to twelve weeks old.
When they are a few years of age, it’s time to start getting their mouth checked out. Going to the dentist at a young age will give you and the dentist more insight into how the mouth, teeth, and gums will grow. This allows you to give your child the best oral healthcare possible, and know what possible problems can arise.
When considering your family’s health, it’s important to think about the best place for them to receive care. Going to the dentist can be a stressful event for children and their parents, as fears of pain and the unknown are strong. Families with children, especially young children, should consider a family dentist to calm their children’s anxiety, and give them a positive experience.