Going to the dentist can be a scary experience for anyone of just about any age. Between all the dental tools, noises, and machines, you can't blame your child for being anxious — perhaps the dentist even puts you on edge as well. Fortunately there are a couple of ways to help your child overcome his or her fears and find the dentist a tolerable, if not enjoyable, experience.
Start out slowly
One common mistake families make is that they forget to make dental care a priority and only go when absolutely necessary. This means that the first time a child goes to the dentist is likely to be for a reason like filling cavities or getting a tooth pulled — both experiences that aren't particularly fun. If you haven't made dental care a priority for your family, then now is the time to start. Begin slowly by introducing your child to the dentist by way of checkups and teeth cleaning appointments. Simpler visits like these will make it easier for your child should a bigger dental visit be required later.
Have your child and the dentist talk it out
As you've probably already guessed, choosing a dentist who is used to working with children and is good at developing a rapport with them is critical. Find a dentist who is willing to sit down and talk to your child and answer any of his or her questions, and perhaps go through and demonstrate all of the dental instruments and what they do. Never underestimate the power of a good talk.
Set an example
You can help to defuse any fears by going to the dentist yourself, as a way to show your child that it's not a big deal. If you sense that your child is nervous about an impending dental visit, try scheduling a check-up or cleaning appointment for yourself. Seeing that everything went well for you can make your child's opinion of the process a more positive one.
Offer an incentive
You know your child better than anyone else and you know what motivates him or her. Use this to turn a visit to the dentist into a positive experience. Whether it's because of a reward or simply your own words of support, offering something unique can quickly turn a bad experience into a good one.
Instilling good dental habits in your children now is crucial for setting them up for a lifetime of dental health. But by starting early and setting a good example, you can help ensure that your child's experience at the dentist is a fantastic one. For more tips, contact a clinic such as Dr. Sajner & Associates.