As important as a cleaning and checkup or other dental procedure is for a child, it is never going to be their favorite activity. That said, there is no reason it has to be something they look ahead to with fear or anxiety. There are a number of things you can do to make a trip to the dentist a more positive experience for your child.
How to Get Kids Excited About a Dental Appointment
Here are some proven ways to mold your child’s perspective on their dental appointments:
- Take them to a pediatric dentist. While any dentist will work on children, pediatric dentists have specialized training, skills, and experience that help them make a child’s visit as stress-free as possible. From the office staff to the hygienist to the dentist, everyone is focused on helping kids and their parents have a positive experience.
- Listen to their concerns. It’s common for parents to respond to a child’s anxiety about the dentist by saying something like, “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine.” But, a more effective approach may be to validate their feelings and say something along the lines of, “I can see you’re a little nervous about this, and I understand why. But, here are some things to keep in mind about how this process will go.”
- Lead by example. Children tend to mimic the behavior of their parents. If in the days leading up to your appointment you talk about being eager to have your teeth and gums feeling clean and healthy, they are much more likely to feel the same way as their appointment approaches.
- Get their input. Giving kids a small amount of control related to their dental cleanings or procedures can help them feel more at ease about them. For example, letting them choose the day of the week for the appointment is an easy way to give them a sense of autonomy and confidence.
- Educate them. We tend to fear what we don’t understand. There are many resources available online that explain what happens at the dentist and why the different procedures are performed. Reviewing that information with them can help turn something mysterious into something that makes perfect sense.
- Talk about the technology. The dentist office has some very cool machines and gear. Encourage your child to look around and ask questions about what things are and how they are used.
- Pair the visit with a fun activity. This tried and true tactic gives kids something to focus on other than the appointment. Lunch out at a favorite restaurant, a visit to the zoo or museum, or going to the movies, when paired with each visit to the dentist, starts to create the positive association that “dentist day = fun day.”
Focused on Making Dental Care Fun
At Foothills Pediatric Dentistry, we focus on providing exceptional dental care in a relaxed and fun environment. Our young patients and their families know that when they come in for an appointment, our friendly staff will do all we can to make it a positive experience.
We’re proud to provide pediatric dental services along the Colorado Front Range in Lafayette (303.604.9500), Longmont (303.702.9501), and Thornton (303.452.9502). Contact us to make an appointment or learn more about our practice.