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The 5 Tips to Make Your Child’s Dental Visit a Walk in the Park

 
Convincing your child to see the dentist doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth. I love seeing kids in my dental office and it is usually a great experience for everyone involved. However, I will admit that sometimes it is just the opposite. I have found that there are several simple things that parents can do to make the experience more pleasant for children.

 

1. Bring them in before it’s their turn

One of the questions I am asked by parents most frequently is, “What age should I bring my child in to see you?” That is a great question. Most dentists will say that you should bring your child in as soon as they have teeth. My answer is a little different. Usually, I want to wait until a child has reached the age of about 3 before actually cleaning their teeth.  I have found this tends to be about the age when they are better able to understand what is going on. It is important that from their very first visit, they have a great experience. For this reason, I usually ask parents to start bringing their little ones to their cleaning appointments with them. This gives kids an opportunity to become used to the dental environment before ever having to get into the dental chair themselves. Usually, seeing a parent or a sibling get their teeth cleaned will show them that this is normal and nothing to be afraid of.

 

2. Do not tell them what to expect

Most parents want to mentally prepare their children for what it is going to be like at the dentist. My advice: Don’t. This may seem strange at first, but I have found that while parents do this with great intentions, if they aren’t careful, it may backfire. Parents will often say things like, “There is no reason to be afraid.” Or “It won’t be scary.” Or “It won’t hurt.” These types of statements may be made with the best of intentions but it actually sets a negative tone for the appointment. It can be even worse if the parents themselves have a dental phobia on some level. Children are very perceptive and will pick up on your fear. My advice is that it is best to not say too much and let them have an organic experience on their first visit.

 

3. Brush their teeth and keep the sugars low.

This should go without saying but it is extremely important. If you never get a cavity, then thoughts of “drills” and “needles” and other potential trigger words (which are banned from our office) never enter your mind. Your experience and perception of going to the dentist is vastly different if you only go every 6 months for a cleaning in contrast to the person who gets a new cavity fixed every year.

 

4. Bring favorite toy

Whether a child is nervous or not, it can be an extra comfort to have something that they love from home. If there is a toy or a blanket that they are particularly fond of, it is okay to bring that with you! The key is always to make them feel comfortable and loved!

 

5. Mornings are best

For some children, it might be best to consider only making early morning appointments. I have found that many children are able to behave better first thing in the morning before they get worn out and tired for the day. On that same note, we want to do our best to keep every appointment short so our kids do not tire out.

 

About the Author:

Dr. Drew Byrnes is a family dentist in Winter Park, FL. His office, Dr. Drew Byrnes Family and Cosmetic Dentistry has been voted as best dentist in Winter Park and Maitland for three years in a row. His main focus is treating patients like they are family and creating a dental experience that will making you want to come back.

Dr. Drew Byrnes Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
199 E Welbourne Ave, STE 200
Winter Park, FL 32789

(407) 645-4645

www.DentistWinterPark.com

 

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