Getting your child to want to feel comfortable going to the dentist, let alone excited, can be quite the struggle. However, there are many steps that you can take that will take the fear out of visiting the dentist office.
Take your child to the store and let them pick out a toothbrush they love! Whether it be their favorite color or their favorite cartoon character, this is sure to get them looking forward to brushing their teeth. You should also try and be a good tooth brushing model for your children. Show them how excited you are to care for your teeth. Children are more likely to want to do things that their parents enjoy.
Children are more likely to be afraid of the dentist and be uncooperative at visits when they are introduced at a late age. You can actually start bringing your child to the dentist at as young as six months old. A cleaning will not likely be possible at this time, but fluoride treatment and an oral examination are very important. This also gives your child exposure to learning about oral hygiene and nutrition at a young age.
Show your child that you are proud of them for going to the dentist. This will help boost their confidence and help them get excited for the next visit. Try to avoid negative phrases such as, “Now, that didn’t hurt did it?” Try to create as big of a separation as possible between dentist visits and discomfort.
Children love to make believe and they love playing with their parents. Playing pretend dentist could help your child slowly become accustomed with the idea of going to the dentist. They can brush their stuffed animal’s teeth and practice laying on the table while you look at their teeth. This can help to avoid any uncooperative behavior down the road.
Children love things that are fun and seem to be centered around them. The world is primarily built for the benefit of adults, so when something seems special for them, children light up. Things like having a movie playing in the waiting room, toys and games to play in the waiting room, and a prize box at the end of this visit help to make a child’s visit to the dentist a special event.