Ways to get your child to enjoy visits to the dentist
Whilst many adults find a visit to the dentist a scary prospect, it can be twice as bad for a child who is nervous about their upcoming check-up. In order to ensure that your child maintains a good level of oral health and dental hygiene from a young age, it’s important to develop a positive relationship with their dentist.
Thinking of ways to turn a dentist appointment into something fun can be quite the challenge, so how can you get your child into the chair without having to resort to bribery? Here are some of our top tips to help make the process much more stress-free for all:
Make sure you try and introduce your child to the dentist chair as soon as possible. This means your child’s first visit will consist of them getting to know their dentist, as well as for the dentist to check for any oral health problems at a very early stage. When your child’s first few teeth start to develop, you should take this opportunity to familiarise them with the process of visiting the dentist and then continue to visit every six months. Your child will begin to recognise this as a regular routine and it will also allow your dentist to offer any advice on how to care for your child’s teeth from a young age.
Turn it into something fun
When referring to the dentist, make sure you always use positive language and words to describe the trip. Stay away from words such as ‘pain’ or ‘needle’ and try not to pre-warn them about any possible pain they might experience. You could also offer them a treat (non-sugary!) or reward for their bravery following their visit, which will hopefully help promote positive associations with dentist visits over time.
Provide some reassurance
In order to help settle them in the waiting room, you could potentially bring something fun along to play with. This will not only keep them occupied, but also help keep their mind relaxed before they are called in. Your child may also feel more comfortable with their favourite cuddly toy, in which case you can bring this along to help them remain calm.
Educate your little one
Setting a good example in terms of how to look after your teeth will go a long way in establishing good dental hygiene for your child. Making sure they understand their teeth and how to look after them will create additional confidence when it comes to check-ups. Play games at home and let them pretend to be the dentist, as well as making brushing their teeth a fun activity.
Although your child may not necessarily enjoy going to the dentist, it will make visits much easier for you as parents and will also ensure that they continue to look after their teeth, well into adulthood. For more information about dental treatments, visit our dental advice page.