How to Protect Your Teeth

Tips To Make Your Child's Next Dentist Appointment Less Stressful

Going to the dentist's office can be a frightening experience for a young child. The memories of pain, menacing tools, glaring lights, and masked workers may leave a child terrified to come back. On the other hand, the thought of a fussy, screaming child could leave a parent dreading to ever bring them again. Below are some techniques worth trying to make your child's next visit smooth and stress free. 

Talk to Them before Going

Communication is golden. Be open with your child about their upcoming appointment. Discuss with them their fears, worries, and expectations. Answer any questions that may arise in a clear and understandable manner. Constantly give your child words of encouragement like "You're such a brave girl, you can do it!" or "I know my strong little boy can handle this." Make sure to establish the fact that you will be there to support them.  

Offer a Reward

A little bribing can go a long way. Children have a tendency to perform better when they know they will be rewarded for doing so. Explain to them your expectations for their behavior during the appointment, and what they will get if they do well. If your child begins to misbehave during their visit, remind them that they won't get their treat if they continue. And if they are behaving well then be sure to acknowledge their efforts and mention what's in store for them if they keep up the good work. 

Distract Them

Bring a couple of small toys or books with you to the office. Give them to your child during the ride and while waiting to be seen. These familiar items from home can help to ease their anxiety and divert their minds from thinking about the unpleasant aspects of the visit. 

Get Your Child Actively Involved

Find some books that explore the theme of visiting the doctor or dentist. Read them together with your child and use it as a conversation starter. If you know of an older kid who does well during their appointments, set it up where the two talk together and allow them to give your child some pointers to help them. You can even take a few minutes from your day to role-play with your child a visit to the dentist. Approaching their fears in a lighthearted and fun manner can change the way they view the situation. 

Being afraid of the dentist is a phase that many children experience. This can be a stressful time for both child and parent. But with effort, patience, and teamwork you and your kid can overcome this fear together.