Did you know that February is National Children’s Dental Health Month?
Ten Ways to Take the Scare out of the Dental Chair from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
1. Start early – The AAPD recommends that every child establish a Dental Home and visit a dentist by their first birthday. The earlier the visit, the better the chances of preventing dental problems, which can source fear for visits to come.
2. Test the waters – Parents with toddlers, who have not yet seen a dentist, should consider a “get acquainted” visit to introduce your child to the dental office before the first appointment.
3. Choose words wisely – Be careful about using scary words. Check-ups and 90 percent of first visits do not have anything to do with “hurt,” so do not even use the word!
4. Time it out – Select an appointment time when your child is alert and rested.
5. Be confident –Children often perceive a parent’s anxiety. They also tolerate procedures best when their parents understand what to expect and prepare them for the experience. As parents become more confident, so will the child.
6. Make ‘pediatric’ a priority – Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry, with two to three years of specialized training in treating children beyond dental school. Plus, because they see only children, their office environment is set up for children.
7. Manage expectations – Before the visit, explain that the dentist is a friend and will help your child keep their teeth healthy. Reinforce that the visit will be fun.
8. Share a story – Read your child a story about a character that had a good dental visit. (Ask the dental office for suggested reading.)
9. List out questions – Make a list of your questions about your child’s oral health in advance. This could include such topics as home care, injury prevention, diet and snacking, fluoride and tooth development.
10. Offer control – Give your child some control over the dental visit. Such choices as “Will you hold your bear or should I?” or “Which color toothbrush do you like?” will make the visit more enjoyable.