Dental visits are important for children to maintain good oral health. A trip to the dentist can often be scary for kids. Loud noises, unpleasant odors, and prodding in the mouth can be nerve-wracking. As routine dental visits are essential for good health and wellness, it’s important for children to become comfortable with their dentist. There are many ways that parents can make visiting the dentist a fun experience.
1. Choose a Pediatric Dentist
Pediatric dentistry is a specialized branch of dentistry that deals exclusively with children from infancy through their teen years. These professionals have the experience and qualifications required to care for a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth through all stages of childhood. While there are many general dentists that treat patients of all ages, pediatric dentists are often more skilled at interacting with infants and kids.
2. Practice at Home
Children who practice good oral hygiene at home are often more at ease in the dental chair. Get your child comfortable with the process of opening their mouth and cleaning their teeth by allowing them to practice on their own at home. Next, allow your child to play the role of the dentist and have them “brush the teeth” of a stuffed animal or doll. This can make the teeth cleaning process seem less scary.
3. Watch Fun Videos About Teeth
Many children are visual learners. Watching videos on YouTube about teeth and the importance of brushing can help your child better understand what to expect from the process. Find age-appropriate videos about why we brush our teeth, what causes cavities, and what happens during a trip to the dentist. Answer any questions your child may have about what they watched.
4. Find a Kid-Friendly Office
Dental offices are often envisioned as sterile environments designed with dull colors and minimal visual interest. Today, parents can find dentists who go the extra mile to get kids excited about their visit. At our office, children will discover colorful walls, cozy furnishings, and touch-screen tablets stocked with games to play in the waiting room.
5. Take Along a Comfort Item
Young children often have comfort items that help soothe their fears and provide a distraction. Maybe it’s a stuffed animal, a small blanket, or a favorite book. Allow your child to hold their comfort item during their cleaning. Kids will often enjoy telling the dentist about their favorite item. This can help build a trusting relationship. Ensure that the item that your child chooses to bring will not interfere with the dental procedure.
6. Make It a Game
Kids love playing games, especially when the game ends with a reward or surprise. Dental hygiene can be turned into a game using a simple point system. For example, each time your child brushes, they get one point. Provide two points when they floss. When they go to the dentist, they get five points. If they reach a specified number of points, provide a reward, such as a favorite dinner or trip to the zoo.
7. Bring an Older Sibling
If you have multiple children, it may be beneficial to schedule both appointments at once. Not only does this save time for parents and prevent unnecessary trips to the dentist, but your young child will likely feel braver if an older sibling also has his or her teeth cleaned at the same time. Many dentists are flexible with scheduling and will do their best to fulfill your preferences.
Book an Appointment Today
Instilling oral hygiene habits in children early on in life is crucial for healthy teeth and gums that will last a lifetime. Your child should grow up knowing that their dentist is a friend, not a foe. Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is a full-service dental office providing pediatric dentistry and orthodontic services to children of all ages. For more information or to request an appointment, contact the friendly team at Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry.