How To Make Dental Visits Comfortable For Your Child
Many people, including adults and children, fear dental consultations and stay uncomfortable throughout the visit. You may have developed coping mechanisms to help you with dental visits, but your child needs your help to stay comfortable. Below are some tips that may help.
Take the Child to a Pediatric Dentist
Take your child to a pediatric dentist for all dental problems, including those that don't require a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have relevant training and experience they use to calm kids. For example, some pediatric dentists:
- Engage kids in talks that interest them, such as sports, hobbies, and cartoons
- Provide playthings and healthy snacks for kids
- Have child-friendly practices; for example, they have decorative waiting rooms
All of the above may make your child more comfortable in a pediatric dental practice than in a general one.
Introduce the Child to Dental Visits Early
Start taking your child to the dentist early to familiarize them with dental examinations and treatments. If possible, help your child develop a rapport with a dentist and stick with the dentist for as long as possible. A child is more likely to be comfortable with a dentist they have an existing relationship with than a new dentist.
Explain What to Expect
Explain to your child what to expect during dental examination or treatment before you get to the dental office. Children understand more than people give them credit for. For example, explain:
- How long a visit may last
- Whether the child may need an injection
- Why the child must avoid some things, such as foods and drinks, before the treatment
That way, the child may not be too surprised once the treatment begins.
Role-Play With the Child
Young kids learn a lot via role-play. Try playing dental-treatment games and incorporate things that mimic the real treatment or examination. For example, you can be the dentist and ask your child to recline and open their mouth. Some stores even sell dental toys that look like real ones. Incorporate such things in your role-plays to make them look more real.
Let the Child Carry Along a Comfort Item
Many kids have favorite things that they use for comfort. It might be a toy, a favorite cloth, or a stuffed animal. Carry your child's comfort item to the dental consultation to make them more comfortable.
Hopefully, your child will be comfortable during the dental visits, allowing them to maintain good oral health. If you haven't taken your child to their first dental visit, start looking for a pediatric dentist and schedule a visit as soon as possible. For more information, contact a family dentist near you.