We recommend visiting the dentist as soon as the first teeth arrive. Getting your child used to the environment of the dental clinic, starting to recognize the faces and become more familiar with the strange pieces of machinery and equipment will help your child to become less overwhelmed when visiting the dentist.
If you can get your child used to coming in for regular check ups, with positive outcomes and simple treatments, they will begin to associate the visits with positive experiences. If they only ever come in for dental emergencies, they will associate with pain and extreme treatments.
Be a good role model:
As a parent, you play a very important role in helping your child manage anxiety and eliminate any fear of visiting the dentist.
If you are personally fearful of visiting the dentist, try to refrain from sharing your personal fears or experiences with your child that may give them an expectation of what will happen or what they will experience when visiting the dentist.
Let your child have a fresh start and clean slate with regards to starting their relationship with dental care and oral health. Surround the experience with positivity and positive reinforcement for good behavior and encouragement through more challenging situations, like their first time in the dentist chair.
Visiting the dentist regularly will make sure that your child’s dental health is well maintained and will prevent any oral decay or damage, which will lead to longer visits and potentially more painful experiences at the dentist.
It will also allow your child to become more confident and familiar with the experience. There are a lot of strange new experiences for a child at the dentist. New faces, sitting in the strange chair, large machinery and equipment, and then a stranger is poking in their mouth with tools.
It can be incredibly overwhelming, so if you have the chance to gradually introduce them to the dentist over time, this may prove to be highly beneficial.
Reward good behaviour:
Many dentists and doctors hand out treats to reward children after their visits. Stickers and a new toothbrush although a simple reward, can be enough to show a child that they did well and that the dentist is a positive place to visit.
Reinforcing their good behavior and encouraging them to listen and follow the instructions from the dentist can really go along way in helping the experience run more smoothly.
Explain what to expect:
When your child becomes old enough to understand more clearly what is happening, you can gently and simply explain what is going to happen when they visit the dentist.
Don’t overwhelm or build any fear by going into too much detail but if your chid understands why visiting the dentist is important, they will realise that it is all worthwhile.
Our dentists are trained and experienced in how to explain the processes and procedures to young children as they are experiencing dental treatments for the first time. So, if its overwhelming for you, our team can explain in a way that won’t overwhelm your child and will build trust and understanding.
Avoid fear of separation:
Some children are fearful of being separated from their parents. At Northmount Dental Care, we will allow parents to stay with their children in all cases where it is possible and is best for the child.
Sometimes an anxious parent can make the situation worse for a child, but we will work with you to determine the best course of action at the time of your visit.
Again, having regular visits and knowing the dentist and the team here at Northmount Dental Care will help to eliminate any of these fears and your child will feel safe and confident with our team members and staff.
Reinforce good oral health care at home:
Make your child proud to care for their dental hygiene so that when they visit the dentist, they feel a sense of achievement for good dental care and keeping their teeth clean. If a child learns to care for their dental health early on, you lower the risk of toothaches, decay, need for fillings and removals.
Regular visits also allow your dentist to monitor any overcrowding or misalignment, and your dentist can start to manage any of these issues before they become an overwhelming challenge to fix.
Contact Northmount Dental Care today to discuss your child’s dental care requirements or to set up a visit to the office with your child so that they can meet us and see the clinic in action.