Many parents dread the idea of taking their child to the dentist. But what if we told you that your child might look forward to going to the dentist? If this sounds like something you want, then read on! We’ve put together a list of 7 valuable tips for getting your child excited about going to the dentist.
Real quick, before we get started, let’s answer a few important questions for anyone doing research.
- How do I choose a dentist for my child?
Choosing a dentist for your child is important because they will inspect their baby teeth and make them strong.
- Google search “child dentist office near me” to find local listings.
- Find a dentist that accepts your dental insurance or offers a solution for self-pay.
- Find out if they have open times when you can come in.
- Ask your friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations of child dentists in their area.
- Search online at places like Yelp, Google Maps, or All Dental Plans.
- At what age should a child begin seeing a dentist?
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist for a checkup between 6 months and three years old. Baby teeth start to appear around six months, with adult teeth coming in place by the age of 6 or 7.
- Did you know that your child should have their first orthodontic exam no later than the age of seven? Preventative care and education are instrumental in building a lifetime of healthy smiles.
- It’s essential to take your child to the dentist as soon as possible so that any dental work can be done before it becomes too difficult or expensive to fix later on down the line. Baby teeth are important because they act as the natural space maintainers for their future adult teeth.
- Again, many dentists offer payment plans and discounts for people who don’t have dental insurance coverage, so you might want to ask about these options when booking an appointment.
- Make sure they have healthy snacks before going to the dentist.
Snacks are great because no one is excited when they are hungry. So, they must have something to eat before going in.
It can be helpful for them to drink plenty of fluids, like water or juice, and avoid things with a lot of sugar beforehand.
- Bring along their favorite stuffed animal or toy.
Binging a toy from home may help your child feel more comfortable in the dentist’s office. Sure, it might be a little messy if they end up getting their toy dirty and wet from playing with it on the floor, but at least your kids will have something to do while you wait for them to finish their appointment! Toys can also help make visits a little less stressful.
If your child is old enough, read them a book before the appointment.
Many dentists have an activity area for children to play in a while, waiting for their turn at the dentist’s chair. Suppose you can get your kids comfortable with waiting by playing games and reading books together beforehand. In that case, it could make visits to the dentist a lot more pleasant.
If you’re looking for something to read, here are some of our favorite children’s books about dental care:
- Curious George Visits the Dentist by H. A. Rey
- ABC Dentist: Healthy Teeth From A to Z by Harriet Ziefert
- Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer
- What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist by Heidi Murkoff
- Let your child know they’ll have fun at the dentist by explaining what will happen
Going to the dentist can be fun for your child if they know what to expect. Talk about what they’ll get to do, like getting a sticker and playing with toys in the waiting room. If your child has had fun at other doctor’s appointments or is familiar with dentist visits from TV/movies, talk about that too!
The best way for you to ease their fear of going to the dentist is to take them on a tour of the dentist’s office. Then, when they see that it’s just like their doctor, in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable, you’ll be more likely to find your child excited about going to the dentist!
- Make an appointment for your child at a time when they are most likely to be happy.
No one knows your child better than you do. With that said, you know what times of day they are most likely to be in a good mood. Maybe your child would love to go to the dentist earlier in the afternoon with you because it’s after lunch and they’re not tired from school yet. Maybe there’s something on TV that interests them at this time of day. If you can’t seem to figure out when is the best time for your child to go, then make an appointment at the beginning of the day, especially if it’s going to be a long one.
- Ask questions to make sure your child understands what will happen and explain the process step by step.
One of the best ways to prepare for a dental appointment is by asking questions. It’s crucial that your child understands what will happen and how the process works. So here are some things you can ask them before their appointment:
- What are your thoughts on going to the dentist?
- What excites you about going to the dentist?
- How do you feel about the dentist’s tools and equipment?
- Do you know what we’ll be doing at our appointment today?
Of course, your child may not always respond well to these questions. That’s okay! At some appointments, they might have trouble opening their mouth or talking because of nerves and anticipation.
Be supportive and reassuring throughout the process – don’t let anything make you more nervous than necessary.
Patiently listen to whatever your child is telling you about their experience with the dentist, and reassure them that they’re doing a great job. For example, ask them how it felt when they got an injection or if they had any trouble breathing through their nose while in the chair – every detail counts! And make sure to remind yourself of these tips before your next visit.
Things to avoid:
-Arriving late or too early and making your child wait in the waiting room longer than scary.
-Talking about the “terrible” shots they give you
-Discussing your own experience with the dentist that was negative
-Failing to prepare them for what they might see or feel when inside the dentist’s office, like drills or injections.
-Showing that you are nervous or stressed out. Keep it together and show them a good example.
Reward them after their appointment by giving them a toy or another treat on the way home!
After your appointment, you can give them a toy or treat on the way home. If you do this, they will associate going to the dentist with something positive. Rewards are especially helpful if your child dreads visiting the dentist!
Getting Your Child Excited about the Dentist
Going to the dentist can be fun for your child if they know what to expect. Talk about what they’ll get to do, like getting a sticker and playing with toys in the waiting room. If your child has had fun at other doctor’s appointments or is familiar with dentist visits from TV/movies, talk about that too! The best way for you to ease their fear of going to the dentist is to take them on a tour of the dentist’s office. When they see that it’s just like their doctor, in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable, you’ll be more likely to find your child excited about going to the dentist! Make an appointment for your child at a time when they are most likely to be happy. No matter their age, kids will always be kids and can sometimes have trouble understanding what they’re supposed to do. This is why it’s crucial for you as a parent or caregiver to guide them through the process for your child to enjoy themselves and understand what is happening without feeling nervous about it.
Suppose you’re located in or around the Macomb County area. In that case, our Eastpointe location might be a good fit for your family’s dental needs. Give us a call to discuss the different options we have to offer your family (children, teens, and adults alike).
Help your children have a lifetime of good health and dental care by balancing their diet, practicing proper home care, and making sure to go to the dentist for regular checkups.