4 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Prepare for Dentist Visits
Guest Submission By Brooke Chaplan
A dentist appointment can be a nerve-wracking experience for a child, especially if it is their first appointment. The fear of discomfort, pain, and the unknown is enough to evoke feelings of anxiety and stress in young children. Luckily, you can make it an easier experience for your child. Here are four ways you can help your child prepare for their dentist appointment.
Discuss the Appointment
The first thing you want to do is discuss the appointment with your child. It is important to bring it up gently and be sure to listen as your child expresses their concerns. You should also avoid using any words associated with discomfort, pain or the equipment. A children’s dentist is experienced in helping children through their first appointment, and they can introduce children to the equipment in a friendly manner.
Role-Play As A Dentist
Another idea is to role-play as a dentist with your child. Let them know you are going to check and count their teeth. Next, let your child pretend to be the dentist. This way, they have an idea of what to expect during their appointment. It also shows them that the dentist is a very friendly person. They may even be excited to tell their dentist about the game during their first appointment.
Tour the Dentist Office
If possible, ask if you can bring your child in for a tour of the dentist’s office in advance. It allows your child to check out their surroundings before their actual appointment. Your child may be able to meet the receptionist, dental assistant, and dentist as well. A tour gives your child peace of mind because they have an idea of what to expect at their appointment.
Bring A Comfort Item
When the day of the appointment arrives, allow your child to bring an item for comfort. They may want to cuddle with their favorite stuffed animal or hold onto their favorite action figure. Another option is a book or a small blanket that makes them feel safe. You can also allow them to watch a short cartoon or TV show on a smartphone or tablet in the waiting room.
Your child may start to feel better about visiting the dentist after their first appointment. They just need to see that the dentist’s office is not a scary place. If you take the time to ease your child into their first appointment, a visit to the dentist can be a good experience for everyone.
More About the Author
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan
*Photos courtesy of Brooke Chaplan