The earlier kids practice all dental health routines the better, and the dentist is no different. Though once kids have been to the dentist, they normally don’t have much fear, sometimes the first trip there can produce some anxiety for kids. The dentist’s office is a new place, full of new people, and new things. Not to mention, depending on the age of the child, they may have heard some horror stories from friends or family members about what goes on at the dentist. Luckily, the staff your Coos Bay kids dentist of choice at Dr. Lori Lemire Family Dentistry is specially equipped and trained in children’s dentistry. Even with a kid-friendly dentist, there’s lots of things you can do to help your kids have a stress-free, maybe even enjoyable first trip to the dentist.
Don’t Lie About it, and Keep it Simple
Though it’s tempting to sugarcoat things when it comes to your kids, don’t do that about their first trip to the dentist. Not only does too much sugar coating cause cavities, but it can breed mistrust of dentists in your kids as well. Try to be straight up with your kids about going to the dentist. Without going into gory or fear-inducing details, try to be as honest as possible with your kids about what will and won’t happen. Let them know the dentist will clean, and inspect their teeth. Try not to promise it will be pain free, because depending on what happens, a trip to the dentist may hurt a bit. If kids feel deceived by you or the dentist, they may be distrustful in the future, and avoid dental visits. Just stick to the basics, try not to go into detail, and be as honest as possible.
Make a Game out of It
If your kid seems interested, curious, or nervous about their first trip to the dentist, offer to play a game with them. You can be the dentist, and they can be the patient, or vis versa. Walk them through the basic steps of a dental appointment. Tell them the dentist is searching for sugar eating germs, and scrubbing them off their teeth so they stay healthy. Be sure to include a reward at the end because we all know how incentive-based kids can be. This can help take some of the stress out of the event, and turn it into something fun.
The younger a child begins going to the dentist, the less likely they are to have anxiety surrounding their first visit. This is for a number of reasons. One reason it’s better to go to the dentist for the first time when kids are very young is that they are less likely to have any pain inducing issues as a very young child, so they won’t associate the dentist with anything negative. If everything goes well, kids won’t associate the visit with anything other than a teeth cleaning with a toy at the end of it. It’s also less scary when kids go to the dentist young simply because once kids have experienced it, it will no longer be part of the great unknown, which can be scary for anyone. The longer you wait, the longer other kids and relatives have to fill your child’s head with unfounded fears about going to the dentist, so starting dental visits young is the best bet. Kids as early as one should get their teeth cleaned by a dentist, not only is it better for their teeth, but it will help them have a more positive view of dentistry altogether.
Kids and the Dentist
Your own view of the dentist shapes a large part of your child’s perception of the dentist, so be sure to be positive when you speak about your own dental appointments. Just like everything else, our views on going to the dentist are bound to rub off on our kids. So be sure to lead by example, be honest, keep it simple, make it fun, and start kids out young when it comes to dentistry. If you do it right, you can turn a trip to the dentist into a fun, simple visit where kids can look forward to wearing cool sunglasses, and an even cooler sticker or toy at the end of it.