For many of us adults, visiting the dentist can be a daunting and anxiety inducing experience.
We stress about it for the days and weeks leading up to the appointment and generally put off getting dental care for as long as possible.
This is of course not the right thing to do and will likely lead to expensive and more invasive dental care down the road.
It’s not a good situation when you dread going to the dentist, which is why it’s important to get your children used to it and try to make it so they don’t fear the dentist.
Afterall, oral health care starts as soon as your child’s first teeth come in (and before to a lesser degree), so professional dental care really is a lifelong thing.
So how do you make going to the dentist fun for kids?
It’s a great question and one that many parents have, so keep reading for some tips on How to get your Kids used to the Dentist.
Choose the right Dentist
Not all dentists are created equal, especially when it comes to children’s needs.
You’ll want to make sure that any dentist you take your kids to is friendly and knows how to handle kids – which is generally a paediatric dentist or children’s dentist.
Step one is a child friendly atmosphere, meaning some toys in the waiting room and staff that will make a kid feel welcome and safe.
Take the time to interview a new dentist or clinic and if possible, schedule an in-person meet-and-greet.
That way you’ll have a good feel for what to expect and if your kids will be comfortable.
It’s usually a good idea to choose a local dentist if possible so that getting to and from appointments is easy.
Schedule your child’s first visit early
Getting your kid used to the dentist is usually easier at an early age than when they’re already older.
This could be as early as 3-6 months old because they won’t be fearful of new surroundings and the chances of making a positive association are high.
Keep up regular dentist visits so that it becomes almost a routine and isn’t something new or frightening.
Keep yourself positive anytime Dentists or Dental Care are mentioned
Children are like radio antennas, picking up on everything in their surroundings.
This includes your emotions and energy, let alone your words and physical actions.
What that means is that as a parent you need to make sure that you don’t exude any negative energy – frustration, anxiety etc. – when anything dental care is involved.
Whether it’s speaking about the dentist, helping with your kids’ teeth brushing routine, and definitely when you’re on your way to an appointment with your dentist.
We recommend booking convenient appointment times so that you won’t be rushing and stressed out trying to arrive on time.
Keep things relaxed and happy when dental care is concerned, and your child will have no reason to be anxious about it.
Use acclimatization tactics to get your child used to the Dentist
No, we’re not travelling to a mountainous region to train our endurance, but we are making sure your kids slowly get familiarized with the idea of dentists and dental care.
Things you can do are buy dentist books that are kid friendly and play dentist at home.
If your kids view the dentist (and dental care) as something fun, they are much less likely to have feelings of anxiety when it comes time for an actual visit.
Make going to the Dentist part of a reward
This might sound like we’re asking you to buy your kids off, but you’d be surprised at how well a little reward after a successful dentist visit can work.
Having a small toy or treat ready for your child when they finish their appointment can give them something positive to focus on and reinforce that visiting the dentist is a good thing.
There are lots of different ways to get kids to like things and you’ll know what those are better than anyone.
Visiting the dentist and taking care of their oral health is a part of life that never stops, so make sure your kids do it right and if possible – enjoy it.
If you have any clever tips or ideas about How to get your Kids used to the Dentist, we’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.