How to Help Children Feel Comfortable on Their First Visit to the Dentist

How to Help Children Feel Comfortable on Their First Visit to the Dentist

I have severe dental anxiety. I probably should have thought about that before choosing to become a dentist. That's a topic for later, but for now, let's acknowledge that many people dislike going to the dentist.

Many people with dental anxiety develop it because of a negative experience at the dentist during their childhood, like me. I had many silver caps on my teeth as a kid, and each one had a memorable experience at the dentist. So, what can we do to help our children avoid the anxiety prevalent among us adults? The answer is more straightforward than you might think.

My top tip for new parents is to ask friends they trust for a recommendation for an excellent children's dentist. As dental specialties go, perhaps no specialty has improved more over the last 30 years than pediatrics.

A good dentist's office for kids has bright decorations, an enjoyable waiting area, TVs on the ceiling, and friendly staff. The staff also gives out prizes to children after their appointments. What kid wouldn’t be excited to spend 30-45 minutes in a place like that?

A fun office like this can make dental care a positive experience for children. During a cleaning, they learn to be calm because of the TVs and the promise of a prize. This method is effective. They become accustomed to seeing, hearing, and feeling their teeth cleaned without feeling anxious.

I suggest young kids see a pediatric dentist because they use oral sedation for fillings, crowns, or extractions. Pediatric dentists receive training and perform these procedures regularly. Kids drink a special drink with laughing gas at the start of their dentist visit, which has a few effects.

First, it calms the child’s nerves significantly. It also makes it so the anesthetic doesn’t pinch.

Finally, the child usually forgets the appointment. As an adult, when they receive anesthesia at the dentist, they forget the traumatic work from their childhood.

When discussing dentistry with their child, parents should avoid expressing their dislike for the dentist. Parents should keep quiet and refrain from sharing negative opinions about the dentist. Don’t tell your kids about the traumatic experiences you had as a kid. Above everything, don’t under any circumstances say the word “shot.”

Pediatric dentists already know how to do dentistry when they enter their residency program. During their last two years of training, dentists learn how to assist children in building positive relationships with dentists. Even without oral sedation, they can often give your child anesthetic without them even knowing it. Don't get your child excited for something that isn't a big deal in today's pediatric offices.

To make your child like going to the dentist, ensure they have an excellent oral health routine at home. The Sonicare for Kids toothbrush and the Slate Electric Flosser are worth the money. They will also last a long time for your child.

I suggest parents brush and floss their children's teeth every night before bed until they turn eight. Then, check their progress a few nights a week. It is essential to clean your kids' teeth before they sleep.

This is because saliva flow slows down during sleep. When saliva flow slows down, bacteria can consume leftover food and plaque. Consuming leftover food and plaque can cause cavities.

To clean my kids' teeth, I lay them on the bed's edge with their heads slightly off. This lifts their chin and is the best way to see their teeth. Then, I kneel directly behind them and floss before brushing for two minutes.

Make sure to brush and floss in the morning, although I usually let my kids do it themselves. By following the routine mentioned, you can prevent your child from getting cavities and having unpleasant dental visits. Instilling a health routine as a child will ensure they continue as adults.

Hopefully, this helps you in helping your child have a healthy, lifelong relationship with their dentist. If you have any follow-up questions, please reach out. Please let us know if you have questions advice about your family's oral hygiene.