Turn Your Child's Dentist Visit Into A Memorable Adventure

Maybe you sensed it when you were making an appointment with the pediatric dentist. You may suspect that your child will have some innate fears about making their first trip to the dentist. Many kids do have this fear, especially after they speak to classmates or older kids who may sensationalize the experience. Well, be proactive about kicking any fears or nervousness to the curb by turning the dentist visit into a fun adventure for your kid.

Prepare for the Big Day

Start talking to your child about the dentist visit as soon as you make the appointment. Present the information as if it is a cool opportunity and a new step on the path to being more of a big kid. Keep things as simple as possible, but also inject a sense of fun into how you speak about the dental visit. Beyond that, think outside the box. Here are some fun ways that you can present the information to your child:

  • Compare the dental visit to what happens when a gold miner looks for a treasure. Explain how the dentist cares about the child having healthy teeth, so he may need to look in the child's mouth with tools to make sure that all the teeth are in great shape.
  • Play pretend. Set up a fun pretend visit at home. You can play the dentist at first, then you can have your child play the dentist. Ask your child to open up her mouth. Count her teeth. Hold up a mirror to help the child look at her own teeth. This will help the child feel like she is a participant in her own care, and it will make the whole thing seem less daunting.

Be Ready to Answer Tough Questions

A child who is feeling at all apprehensive about a dental visit will have lots of questions and need a great deal of reassurance. You have to balance saying what your child needs to hear in order to feel comforted and telling it like it is so that the more important bond of trust between you isn't broken.

Question: Will it hurt?

Your Answer: This is probably the toughest one because how you answer it can influence how a kid perceives a children's dentist. It's important to give reassurance without making unrealistic promises. Try saying something like, "The dentist only wants you to feel great. That's why you're going for the visit to make sure you don't get a toothache."

Question: What will happen?

Your Answer: Well, less is more here. You don't want to overload your child with too much information that can cause anxiety. Say something along the lines of, "He's going to check your smile and count how many teeth you have."

Question: What if I don't like it?

Your Answer: This one may seem especially daunting. The first impulse may be to promise that you will leave, but don't say that unless you will follow through with it. For your child's own well-being, you don't want to follow through with a promise like that. So, instead, try saying, "I will be at the appointment with you from start to finish. I'll take care of you, and you can talk to me about anything."

Finally, remember that your child is looking at how you respond and picking up cues from your attitude. Be sure to share your own positive experiences regarding care at a dentist's office and explain how much dentists want to help patients. You may soon have your child asking to miss school for the chance to visit the dentist, but that's a bridge (not of the dental variety) that you can cross when you get there. 

To learn more, contact a pediatric dentistry clinic like Kids First Pediatric Dentistry