Whether it’s your child’s first trip or it’s been six months in between visits, a trip to the kids dentist is something that requires a little prep work in order to help your child know what to expect. Due to the fear and anxiety that can come along with a dentist visit, parents may have difficulty communicating just what their children should expect without inadvertently scarring them. In order to avoid such a situation, there are a few preparation tips to help you make sure that your child gets going on the right foot.
Step 1 – Get in contact with the physician your child will be seeing before the visit in order to obtain a brief rundown of what to expect during the appointment. Most children exams will differ from those of adults, and as such you should try not to rely on your own experience as a reference.
Step 2 – While you’re on the phone with the kids dentist office, ask to schedule a tour. Try to set this up for a time at least a week before hand as a way to familiarize your child with the office setting. The staff at the office will likely take your child through the entire office, pointing out areas where children can play, the prizes they can earn for brushing, and other things that will appeal to their sense of comfort. Having the tour close enough to the appointment date will help your little patient recall the fun associated with the tour, resulting in a positive experience overall.
Step 3 – The day prior to the appointment, sit your child down and discuss the visit. If you’re child has shown increased signs of fear or anxiety, you may decide to discuss the topic on a daily basis in the week leading up the visit.
This will work to soothe your little patient, and help them understand the positive aspects of the visit. The day of the appointment, be sure to remind your child of the fun aspects of the office, reiterating that today is the day that they will get that special prize from the treasure chest, get to see the fish tank, and play with the various toys in the waiting room.
Step 4 – Try to answer any of your child’s questions as honestly as you can. As with adults, children fear the kids dentist office due to the potential for pain. If your child is headed in for a basic cleaning and general exam, there is very little chance that they will be in any sort of pain during the visit.
Even in instances where a cavity is found, the office will likely have you set up an additional appointment at a later date. While you will be able to tell your child honestly that a general exam will not result in any pain, this may not always be the case. If you are aware of an appointment that may involve some drilling or corrective measures, be sure to sit down and talk to your child about what they might expect.