Coral Springs Dental Center knows that the dentist has a reputation for being a scary place, and that this is even more so true when it comes to dentistry for children. We also know that this doesn’t have to be the case. Maybe you are preparing for your child’s first visit to a pediatric dentist or you have already had a negative experience with your kid at an office. Either way, it is never too late to establish a good relationship between your child and your family’s dentist. Here are our pediatric dentist’s top five tips for taking the fear out of your family’s next visit.
Make The Most of Your Child’s Dental Visit
- Start young- It is widely recommended that a child visits a pediatric dentist within the first six months of tooth eruption. There are multiple reasons for this. Not only is it to prevent early dental complications, such as baby bottle tooth decay, but it is also to normalize dental visits from a young age. Part of the reason that children are so scared of going for a dental visit is because of how negatively the experience is portrayed on television, by their friends, and even by other family members. When a child grows up with positive dental experiences as part of their routine, they are less likely to let these negative factors influence them.
- Practice good dental hygiene- Parents often let their young children slack on dental keep up with the logic “it’s only their baby teeth”, but this is harmful in a number of ways. Oral hygiene and dentistry for children is very important. First off, the self-care habits that a child learns early in life stay with them well into adulthood, so it is important to establish dental hygiene as a priority. Also, if a child knows that they do not care for their teeth, the fear of being reprimanded and nervousness leading up to a dental visit can be unbearable. However, if you are regularly congratulating them for being on top of their game at home, they will be eager to show their dentist how well they are doing! Poor hygiene will also lead to a more extensive and potentially uncomfortable dentist visit. Children are more likely to want to return to the office if they leave with a sticker and a pat on the back rather than an extracted tooth and an ice pack.
- Offer a familiar distraction- A security blanket of sorts might be just what your child needs to remain calm through their visit. Whether it is an actual blanket, favorite book, or well-loved stuffed toy, bringing a piece of home with you is a great way to keep the dentist’s office a positive space. If positive reinforcement works well with your child, offer them their favorite dinner or a bit of extra television time in exchange for good behavior during the visit. Keeping things light and fun is key. Therefore, the waiting room is probably not the best space for your child to do their dreaded math homework or for you to reprimand them for forgetting to make their bed. Check those things at the door and focus on working with your dental team to create a positive space for your child.
- Lead by example- This tip starts at home and continues all the way to the office. Begin by demonstrating good oral hygiene yourself. Make brushing and flossing a learning experience and bonding time between you and your child rather than an annoying necessity. Continue this positive attitude in the days leading up to the visit and during the visit itself. Make sure you talk to your children about where they are going- this is a case where surprises might not be so fun. A great way to help quell your child’s fears is by taking them to one of your dental checkups to show them that there is nothing to be afraid of. Mommy and daddy are heroes to children, and they want to follow where you lead. By staying positive even if you are having a slightly uncomfortable procedure done, you will show them that that can do it, too!
- Take them to a specialist- While you may know of or go to a great dentist yourself, it is always best to take your child to a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are not only trained in dentistry, but also have additional schooling in the fields of child psychology and behavior management. Basically, they are fully equipped to handle any situations that may arise involving dentistry for children. This is an invaluable asset, especially when dealing extreme cases of fear. Our pediatric dentistry team here at Coral Springs Dental Center has all the knowledge and caring needed to make your child’s visit a calm, trauma free experience!
Following these steps is a great way to help your child overcome fear of the dentist or to help them not have it in the first place! However, despite our best efforts, some children will still develop a severe phobia of going for even a routine checkup. If this is the case with your child, Coral Springs Dental Center offers sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas) is carefully administered in order to calm your child and allow your pediatric dentist safely perform the visit. Whether your child already handles the dentist like a champ or needs a little- or a lot- of extra help, Coral Springs Dental Center will work with you to create an amazing experience while always providing state of the art care to you and your family! If you have any questions about dentistry for children, call us at 954.344.8800!