The portrayal of dentists in kids TV shows and movies can make it really hard to convince your kiddos that going to the dentist is a good thing. Unfortunately, dental anxiety is pretty common among kids and adults alike — and it’s better for your kiddos if you help them handle that anxiety before they grow up and take responsibility for scheduling their own dental care. Try these tips from our family dentistry team to help your kids appreciate (and maybe even enjoy!) going to the dentist:
Prepare Your Kids
You shouldn’t feel the need to tiptoe around an upcoming dental visit. In fact, it’s better to give your kids an idea that a dental checkup is coming. If you’re going to a new family dentistry clinic, see what can be done about arranging a meeting before the actual exam and cleaning. Give your kids a chance to meet the staff and walk around the office. This, combined with your explanations about the upcoming visit will help your kiddos feel more comfortable.
Any time you talk about dental care, speak like your kids are listening — not just when you’re talking to them about an upcoming appointment. Avoid using words like “scary” or “painful,” as these words are more likely to increase anxiety. Instead, use positively focused terms like “healthy” and “clean.” This reinforces that a family dentistry visit is A) no big deal, and B) a good thing to do to care for your body.
Don’t Simplify Too Much
As parents, we know you want to alleviate your child’s concerns. Be careful that you don’t simplify or over-generalize too much, though. Telling your child something like, “Everything will be fine!” can simplify things too much, and if your child does have a cavity, they will likely remember that generalized statement and stop trusting you when you talk about dental care.
Dental visits, with the bright lights and metal tools, can seem especially daunting to young kids. Before your family dentistry visit, play pretend dentist at home. You can have your child lie back and hold a mirror while you count their teeth, explain the different parts of the mouth, and show how a dentist is going to evaluate their teeth. You can even use simplified terms like “sugar bugs” to explain how cavities form. When they can experience a simulation of what’s coming in a comforting atmosphere, it can help ease anxiety during the actual visit.
Choose A Children’s or Family Dentistry Office
Caring for a child’s oral health has a different set of hurdles than an adult faces. Going to a dentist who specializes in children’s dentistry means you’re taking your kiddos to someone who has training in children’s oral health concerns and in working with kids. That difference in experience can make all the difference, especially if your kiddo still struggles with dental anxiety.
Give your kids a trustworthy experience with dental care in Malta. Connect with the family dentistry team at Salvatore Dental to schedule care for the whole family!