We enjoy having children in our office as patients, and we do our best to make them feel comfortable when they are sitting in our chair. We use language that they can understand and explain everything that we are doing. It takes more than the dentist, hygienist, or assistant to make sure they are not anxious about their visit, though. So much of it begins at home and with how you, as a parent, talk about the dental office. Even if YOU are anxious about seeing the dentist, it is important to not pass that anxiety on to your children. Findings show that parental anxiety plays a key role in how children will react to dental procedures. So how can you help make your child’s visit as anxiety free as possible? Here are some tips!
· Start bringing them to the dentist early. We recommend they start sitting in our chair as soon as their first tooth appears. Coming in and getting used to the sounds and sights of the office will make them comfortable as they get older and we start to do more, like their first cleaning.
· We watch the words that we use and so should you. Avoid using ‘hurt’ or ‘going to get a shot’. If they are coming in for a routine visit, tell them that the dentist is going to count their teeth and check that they are strong and healthy by making sure there are no “sugar bugs.”
· Let your child go back to the chair by themselves. Once they hit the age of 4 or 5 they can easily come to the dental chair by themselves. It may seem like they ought to do better with a parent present, but often the opposite is true. Trust that our staff will come and get you if you are needed; and know that we will take exceptional care of your child while they are with us.
· Proper home care will make their visit to our office even easier. It’s great to have a child “do it themselves,” but until they are 7 or 8 parents should follow-up to make sure they have done a good job brushing; even if that means another round with the toothbrush from Mom or Dad.
· Other helpful hints. Things that can be done at home to help form positive images of the dental office are reading books about teeth and/or dentists, role-playing dentist, and talking encouragingly about the dental visit. Make their appointment first thing in the morning when they are most likely rested and in a good mood. We look forward to seeing you and your child in our office! If you have any questions or would like further guidance to help make your child’s visit as smooth as possible, please give us a call. We're more than happy to assist!