It’s common for children to feel nervous, and even afraid when it comes to visiting the dentist. Knowing how to best prepare your child for the first dental visit and other subsequent visits is important. While ensuring that your child’s teeth are healthy and that they’re maintaining strict oral hygiene habits is vital, you’ll definitely want to ensure a positive experience for both you and your child during these visits.
To help relieve your child’s fear of the dentist in Reno, we’ve provided some simple steps that will help your child feel more comfortable and relaxed with each dental visit:
First Choose a Qualified Pediatric Dentist
You may love your dentist, but choosing a qualified pediatric dentist who specializes in treating kids and young adults is highly recommended. Pediatric dentists undergo two or three more years of training beyond dental school so they can learn how to manage young patients and their dental fears. Even if your child has fear of the dentist, choosing a kid-friendly dental clinic will help them calm down.
Multiple techniques like having sunglasses at the ready to help kids with the bright lights during dental examinations can be used to help calm their nerves. To make your dental visits easier, you should also consider scheduling appointments with the same dentist each time. Kids will feel more at ease getting their teeth checked by a dentist who is familiar, making appointments much more relaxing and smoother for everyone involved.
Start at a Young Age
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises parents to take their kids for their first dental appointment within the first six months after the first tooth appears, or by the time they reach one year. While infant dental care is vital on its own, starting dental visits as early as possible plays a critical role in helping your child overcome the fear of the dentist in Reno.
Once your child is used to the routine of visiting the dentist, they’ll be less anxious with each visit. Early visits also help identify and prevent potential oral problems like cavities or other teeth development issues. This will help you avoid any extensive dental treatments down the line. Waiting until your child experiences tooth pain or other symptoms will only be worse in the long term.
Visit the Dentist Before the Actual Appointment
If you can clearly see the discomfort in your child when you mention dental visits, it’s important to consider calling the dentist’s office to arrange a meet and greet before the actual appointment. This will do you a lot of good—you and your child will get to meet the dentist and staff, your child will adjust to the atmosphere, and even get to learn a few positive things about visiting the dentist. Visiting a new place can be a scary experience for any child, so planning a pre-visit can remove the element of fear of the dentist in Reno on the day of the actual dental appointment.
Keep a Positive Attitude
The first dental visit for your child comes with lots of uncertainties. Will your child throw tantrums? Will they start crying before you even reach the dentist’s office? How should you handle these situations as a parent?
When planning for the first visit, you’ll want to keep a positive attitude all the way. Avoid including too many details about the visit, as it creates a sense of discomfort and unnecessary anxiety for your child. When discussing an upcoming visit with your child, keep it simple to avoid raising more questions.
Watch What You Say
While it’s tempting to keep your child engaged with some positive chatter to distract them from the dental examination, experts recommend that you desist from this. You need to watch what you say to your child. Avoid the use of words like shots, hurt or pain. Instead, let the dentist and his staff introduce their own language to your child to help them get through the entire dental appointment.
By allowing the dentist to do the talking, they get to create a better rapport with your child, minimizing your child’s fear of the dentist in Reno. To make your child more comfortable, use more convincing words like, “The dentist is going to check your smile and count your teeth, or make sure your teeth are clean, strong and healthy.” This will make the dental visits more fun instead of alarming and scary.
Avoid Relating Your Dental Experiences With Your Child’s
If you regularly take your child to your own dental visits, experts say that this is a mistake you should avoid. You may feel anxious about your own dental visits, and not even realize it. In some ways, your child may sense those fears.
Avoid telling your child stories about root canals, extractions, pulpal therapy and crowns, and other negative experiences as they may trigger anxiety in your child, especially if they may not undergo such procedures. Compared to adult dental clinics, which may be sterile and non-friendly, pediatric clinics are more kid-friendly with video games, bright colors, pleasing pictures on the walls and other items that kids can enjoy.
Be Ready for the Usual Nagging
Kids at a young age may cry, wiggle, whine and even throw tantrums at every little thing that goes against their will. During dental visits, expect to deal with some issues during their appointment.
While not all kids will cause problems, it’s important to know what to do when your child starts whining—stay calm and let the pediatric dentist and his or her team take over the situation. They’re specially trained to work with children, and will recommend the best course of action. You may be asked to hold your child’s hand or stay at a distance. Nagging is usual for kids but it shouldn’t be a reason to increase their fear of the dentist in Reno.
In situations where your child’s actions become a hindrance to the comfortable and safe performance of dental checkups or procedures, a pediatric dentist may recommend sedation dentistry.
Reward Your Kid the Right Way
Many parents have the tendency to reward their kids once they do something good or stick to the rules. While this is not bad, experts recommend that you avoid promising your child special treats if they behave or play ball during dental visits. Doing this only creates a sense of anxiety during the visit. Instead of bribing your child before a dental visit, praise them after the appointment for their cool behavior and courage. You can also surprise them with a small toy or other item they would love as a show of appreciation.
Maintain a Strict Oral Hygiene Routine
While taking these steps is a sure way to relieve your child’s fear of the dentist in Reno, it’s all for nothing if you don’t embrace a strict oral hygiene routine. By regularly visiting the dentist, you get to teach your child the importance of maintaining good oral health. Pediatric dentists also share important tips on how you should take care of your child’s teeth, the correct way of brushing and flossing their teeth, as well as the importance of eating healthy. Tell your child that the dentist will help them keep away cavities and maintain a beautiful smile.
Start With a Call to Your Pediatric Dentist
Knowing how to manage your child’s fear of the dentist is only but a small part of ensuring smooth dental visits now and in the future. Toothfairy Pediatric Dental, a top provider of quality dental care Reno, recommends that you and your dentist should make it a priority to ensure that your child has a positive experience at the dental clinic during their early years, so they don’t end up developing an ongoing fear of oral health care providers.