Well you know what they say about first impressions. For some kids, going to the dentist the first time is like meeting a scary boogeyman, and it’s the same exact monster every kid has to face. You know, the one with noisy drills who laughs diabolically in front of the blinding lights, then tells you not to talk before saying “Open wide!” Well to effectively counter this clearly overdramatic image, let’s discuss how we can really help parents reverse the commonplace negative conditioning. Sooner or later, the fears must be met head-on.
Now here are a few quick tips that can change a child’s perspective, especially if they’ve already had a bad experience and you’re busy fielding their temper tantrums.
First, you might do well to introduce your child to the friendliest dentist you can find. Of course, no parent should make a final decision based on demeanor or appearances alone. Rather, it should be a combination of past performance and positive Google reviews, especially those that have positive reviews with kids.
Second, it’s always a good idea to contact the dentist’s office in advance. This ensures that you will have an opportunity to ask any questions and relay any pre-existing concerns, fears, or phobias that your child might have.
Third, watch diet and sugar intake. Especially on the day of your child’s first dental checkup. If it’s safe to say your child has a lot of natural energy, then it’s probably best not to overload their systems with any excess sweets or sugars. If you already have a difficult time coaxing your little one to get in the car, let alone sit still in the dentist chair … imagine trying it while they’re bouncing around on a sugar rush!
Fourth, some children will naturally be afraid of the odd noises. The sounds of the dentist’s drill certainly fit that description. They might even be afraid of the close contact with a dentist. One way to mitigate this is positive reinforcement in advance. For example, find a toy that makes a similar sound like a toy drill. Use the object in a game along with rules and rewards, such as who can stay still the longest gets a treat. If you’re offering a great reward, you should see great results.
Lastly, another way to familiarize kids with opening their mouths for a period of time … is the use of a custom bite guard or the jsdentallab.com dental night guard. Consider this also helps if they already have grinding or teething problems.
With the above accomplished, most of the hard work in preparing your kid for the dentist is done. With any luck, you might even make your child’s dentist their best friend!