Millions of adults get nervous about dental appointments and regularly cancel or delay appointments altogether. But is dental anxiety unavoidable? What can you do to help your child relax and have a good dental appointment? His or her dental experiences in childhood can determine how dental appointments are viewed as an adult.
1. Be positive about your own dental appointment
Find ways to speak and act positively about your own dental appointments. If your child senses that you are afraid of going to the dentist, he or she may begin to think there is a valid reason for fear. Your child can develop anxiety over dental appointments without even having a negative experience at the appointment.
2. Build excitement for your child’s pediatric dentist’s appointment
Talk about the benefits of going to the dentist. Clean teeth, a pretty smile, a good report, and no cavities are just some of the reasons to go to the dentist regularly. Let your child know how proud you are of him or her for good behavior at the dentist’s office.
3. Let your child know what to expect
Tell your child what happens at a dental appointment. Let him or her know the different people that you both will meet and what will be done to take care of your child’s teeth. If possible take your child with you to your own dental appointment. It’s a good chance to observe you and see the positive results of going to the dentist.
4. Get acquainted with the dentist first
Don’t just randomly choose a dentist and bring your child to appointment at an office he or she has never seen. Think of what it’s like to be a child and allow a complete stranger to put his or her hands in your mouth and start cleaning your teeth. In advance of a dental cleaning appointment, schedule an appointment for your child to see the dentist’s office, meet the staff, and meet the dentist.
If you sense that your child is not comfortable with any of the staff members or the staff environment, it may be best to keep searching for another dentist.
5. Practice good oral hygiene at home
Floss and brush your child’s teeth to help him or her maintain good oral hygiene. Let your child know that the dentist will make sure that his or her teeth are extra clean and healthy.
Relax. Let your child see that you are relaxed and excited about the dental appointment. Pay close attention to how your child responds to the office environment and staff. Do what you can to ensure your child has a positive dental experience.
This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist and board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca. Dr. LaVacca’s office has a team of skilled general dentists, pediatric dentists, and an orthodontist.