How to Make the Dentist a Positive Experience for Kids
A visit to the dentist is a daunting prospect for many children, especially when they’ve learnt to associate the dental checkups with pain or discomfort – either through their own experiences or familial anecdotes. It’s normal for children to have some anxiety when faced with new situations, however parents need to equip their children with the tools needed to overcome this initial nervousness. Here are some great ways to relieve your child’s anxiety about going to the dentist and turn each visit into a positive experience.
It’s best to get kids to the dentist as early as possible (e.g. once they have their first tooth), to both to familiarise them with the experience and to make a good start on their dental health. Choose a local dental clinic with child friendly dentists and allow your child to develop a trusting relationship with their dentist by booking appointments with the same practitioner each time. It’s best to make sure your child’s first experience with the dentist is a routine check-up rather than a procedure, so that they don’t associate future dental appointments with pain or discomfort.
Talk with them
If your child is expressing anxiety about going to the dentist, it’s a good idea to talk with them about it to figure out why they’re nervous and dispel any irrational fears. That being said, it’s important to be honest with your child about what they can expect from a check-up or treatment, including potential discomfort. Encourage your child to ask the dentist questions during their appointment and avoid using negative language during discussions, and even when talking about your own experiences.
Play dentist at home
Playing dentist at home is a great way to get young children used to the idea of a dental appointment. Set up a chair at home and have your child role play as the dentist, getting them to “pretend clean” your teeth. Then, switch roles so that you are the dentist and your child is the patient and walk them through some of the general procedures like cleaning and rinsing.
Positive reinforcement is a great way to get your child to enjoy their dental appointments. Easy things you can do to create positive experiences include letting your child wear their favourite outfit to their appointments, giving them stickers afterwards, and treating them to a healthy snack.
Eden Rise Dental are a family dental clinic in Berwick. Our friendly female dental team work extremely well with children, and will ensure your child has a positive experience each time they visit the dentist.