How to Prepare Your Child for the Dentist

How to Prepare Your Child for the Dentist

Oct 30, 2013

Visiting the dentist can be stressful for young children, especially if they had a difficult past experience. Children are very sensitive to their environment. It’s always best to take your child to a dentist who enjoys working with children right from the start. A dentist who has a way with kids can immediately put your child at ease in the office.

In addition to choosing a compassionate dentist, there are other things you can do as a parent to ensure that your child has a successful visit.

  • Prepare your child ahead of time. Children are routine oriented. They like to know what is coming next. Discuss the upcoming appointment with your child so that expectations are clear. You child will probably have questions and it is important to be sensitive to any concerns.
  • Take a trial run. See if you can set up an appointment for your child to meet the dentist ahead of time. Some dental offices will give you a tour, showing your child where cleanings are done and x-rays are taken. Sometimes seeing other children having a good visit sets up positive expectations.
  • Teach relaxation at home. If you have a particularly anxious child you may want to practice some relaxation exercises at home prior to the appointment.  Teach your child how to take deep breaths from the belly and exhale through the mouth. You can practice by blowing bubbles. Another great relaxation exercise is to have your child tense and relax each body part.
  • Consider laughing gas. Some dentists use nitrous oxide to calm an anxious child before dental work. The dental assistant simply places a mask over your child’s nose so he can breathe in the gas and relax. If you are going to give it a try, talk about what to expect physically and emotionally prior to the appointment.

Some children are more anxious than others in general. If you are still worried about your child, speak to your dentist about your concerns. The more information your dentist has, the easier it will be to make your child comfortable. Partner with your dentist to make the experience as pleasant as possible.

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