It can be truly gut wrenching to watch your little one throw a tantrum in fear of going to the dentist. While a full-on fit is sometimes unavoidable, doing a small amount of prep work can ease your child's fears of the dentist. Start brushing early, visit the dentist just for fun and make the visit enjoyable. With a little positive encouragement, your youngster should learn to love his or her regular checkups.
It's incredibly awkward and uncomfortable for your child to have someone prying around in their mouth, especially a stranger. Start brushing his or her teeth and gums from an early age. Before teeth grow in, wrap your finger with a warm damp cloth. Rub his or her gums gently after feedings. You can swap to a baby toothbrush and child-friendly toothpaste as soon as those chompers start growing in. These regular home scrubbings get your young child used to having his or her teeth cleaned. Ultimately it should make the dentist seem a little less scary.
Typically you want to schedule your youngster's first dental visit within six months of that first tooth poking through. Before making that appointment, ask your pediatric dentist about popping in to observe what goes on in the office. He or she may allow you to bring in your child to watch another cleaning. This helps your young one get used to the sights, sounds and people in the dentist office. If a pop-in visit isn't allowed, have a family member accompany you and your child to one of your dental appointments. He or she can hold your child and let your little one see what's going on. Go on these visits as often as you can.
When it finally comes time to put your child in that dental chair, you'll need distractions. Find out ahead of time if your dentist's office has a television that's visible from the chair. If not, bring your laptop or tablet loaded with your youngster's favorite movie. Bring his or her most-loved stuffed animal or toy, too. During the appointment, use lots of praise, be positive and console your child often. Some dentists even have you hold your child in your lap during the cleaning. Lastly, offer a reward for good behavior. Let your child know that they will be rewarded with a new toy or fun activity. If your child is still anxious, your dentist can use sedation to soothe him or her. Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, as well as oral sedative medications, can be used to help severe anxiety.
For more information on making your child's dental visit easier, talk to the dentists and other staff at a dental clinic like myDentalcare. They may have learned a few tips or tricks that they can share with you.