There is something about lying helplessly on a chair amid glaring lights, unfamiliar sights, and nerve-wracking sounds in the dentistâs office that turns even the most macho of men into nervous cowards.
If the dentist can cause adults to shake in their boots, how do you think the younger folks among us feel?
Parents of small children know the effort it can take to get children to cooperate at the dentist, especially if previous visits were not the best of experiences.
If you have kids, the last thing you want to do is create a habit of perpetual fear that makes going to the dentist a dreaded occasion for everyone involved. A successful first visit can set the stage for a lifetime of positive dental experiences.
Early dental attention is important to dental health throughout oneâs life. In addition, early trips to the dentist can help a parent know how best to care for her childâs teeth.
One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is putting off the childâs first dental visit until an issue arises that needs attention. If the first trip to the dentist involves pain and discomfort, the child learns that the dentistâs office is an unpleasant place to be.
Early visits to the dentist can be a fun experience for your child, especially if you choose a dentist that specializes in pediatric care. Such dental offices are prepared to make dental appointments a positive experience for your child.
Many dentists are joining the ADA in recommending a first visit to the dentist by age 1 in order to catch any early problems and to start kids on the path to appreciating a healthy mouth.
Finding a dentist for your child is an important task. The attitude of the dentist and his staff has the possibility of affecting your childâs dental experiences for the rest of his life. Some helpful ideas for selecting a dentist include:
- Recommendations â Ask other parents about their kidsâ dentists. Word of mouth is a great way to find out who is good and who to avoid.
- Tour â Once you have narrowed down your choices, stop in for a tour of the office. Child-friendly dental offices should feature bright colors, child-size seats, exciting decorations, and child-appropriate teaching materials.
- Check Credentials â A quick call to the state licensing board or the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) will ensure that the dentist of your choice has the proper licenses to practice in the field of pediatric dentistry. In addition, you may want to make a call to the dental office to find out how long the dentist has been practicing, both as a dentist and as a child-specialized dentist.
Parents Make a Difference
There are many things a parent can do to make dental experiences more enjoyable for children. Children pick up on the attitudes of their parents, whether positive or negative. Here are some great tips for you as a parent:
- Donât tell scary stories â If you have had bad experiences at the dentist, your child does not need to hear about them.
- Go first â If possible, schedule an appointment to see the dentist right before your child. This may not always be possible with pediatric dentists, but it boosts confidence considerably to see mom or dad happily survive his time in the scary-looking chair.
- Keep it honest â Donât tell your children that it wonât hurt or that nothing is going to happen. If they do end up experiencing any pain, they will lose confidence in your word regarding future visits.
Meg Jones enjoys the opportunity to write about family and home issues, especially when it comes to nurturing children.Â If you are looking for a Dover dentist, there are many very fine care centers available that specialize in working with children.