Dental Anxiety? How to Prepare Your Child For a Dental Visit
Does your child have dental anxiety? Check out these tips for preparing your child for a dental visit to our Lakeway office.
Children should go to the dentist as soon as their first tooth comes in. Early trips to the dentist will allow your dentist to catch any oral conditions before they progress and teach good hygiene practices to your child.
For some children, going to the dentist can be a scary experience, causing you to push their appointments further into the future. Unfortunately, waiting for your child to overcome their fears will only hurt their chances of having the perfect smile.
Avoiding your child’s dental appointments will increase their chances of developing cavities, gum diseases, and poor oral health.
If you’re tired of delaying your child’s dental appointments, keep reading to learn how to prepare your child for the dentist and help them move past their dental anxiety.
Show Your Child What Will Happen
The unknown is one of the biggest causes of dental anxiety. If your child has never visited the dentist, they won’t know what happens during an exam. Thinking about everything that could occur will trigger dental anxiety in your child.
To prevent your child from fearing their upcoming visits, show them what will happen before their big day. Play videos or cartoon episodes about trips to the dentist or read your child books about them.
You can also act out what will happen. Buy a toy dentist kit and use it to show your child what will happen. While you act out their appointment, explain to them what each tool does and how it’s used.
By the end of your demonstrations, your child will feel ready for their appointment.
Don’t Tell Your Child Weeks in Advance
Nobody likes to feel caught off guard by an appointment, but telling your kid about their dentist appointment weeks in advance will induce anxiety. Instead of using the heads up to prepare themselves, your child uses it to overthink.
To save them from thinking too much, inform them of their appointment 1 to 2 days before it happens. You can then take the time to prepare them without making them wait.
Keep Things Positive
When you tell your kid about their appointment, avoid using scary expressions such as pain, drill, blood, shot, needle, etc. These words will scare your kid and cause a lot of dental anxiety.
Try keeping things positive by telling them about the fun toothpaste flavors they can choose from, or the bright colors in the exam room.
You can also offer positive reinforcement in the form of encouraging words and rewards. Tell your child they can get a new toy or game after their appointment. This way, they’ll have something to look forward to afterward.
After the appointment, tell your kid how good they were and praise them for their behavior. Even if they cry, your child needs to feel proud of their accomplishment.
Tour the Dentist’s Office
If you can, call and schedule a tour of your dentist’s office before their appointment. Taking your child on a tour will allow them to meet their dentist, see the dental equipment in person, familiarize themselves with the office, and have a positive memory of the dentist.
Since they’ve already gotten introductions out of the way, your kid can go to their appointment feeling like they’re visiting an old friend.
If you can’t fit an office tour into your schedule, visit the practice’s website to view images of the office or see if they offer virtual tours.
Bring Their Comfort Toy
If your kid has a comfort toy or item, bring it to their appointment. Being able to hold the item will give them a sense of security during their exam. They will also have something to fidget with when they feel nervous.
Remember to bring only one item. There won’t be enough room for their entire toy box inside the office.
Some practices also have comfort animals your child can borrow during their appointment, just in case you forget theirs.
As a parent, it’s not uncommon for you to feel nervous about big events in your child’s life, but your anxious energy can affect them on their big day.
To prepare yourself and manage any dental anxiety, you might have, fill out your child’s paperwork before their visit. Having their paperwork completed will allow you to focus on your child instead of the fine print. You can do this online or by calling the dentist’s office and asking for a copy of their paperwork.
You can also make a list of questions you have for the dentist before the visit. It can be hard to remember everything at the appointment. Having a list will save you the stress of remembering everything you wanted to say.
Managing Your Dental Anxiety
Practicing dental anxiety management techniques is another thing you can do to prepare yourself for your child’s dental exam. When your child sees you coping with your feelings, they will feel inspired to do the same. Managing your anxious energy will also keep it from impacting your child.
If you’re anxious about your child’s reaction to their exam, remember their dentist is a professional. They’ve seen it all and know how to help your child through their feelings without judgment.
Looking for a Pediatric Dentist in Austin?
If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist to care for your child’s teeth, consider our services at Sky Ridge Dental. We are a family dentist in Lakeway, Texas that is more than prepared to help your child overcome their dental anxiety. Our practice prides itself on our community-oriented and effective services.
Don’t believe us? Come see for yourself!
Visit our website to learn more about our services, meet our team of dentists, contact us, or schedule an appointment. We hope to see you and your smile soon!