A trip to the dentist can seem like a scary event for a child, especially if they don’t know what to expect. Proper preparation can set your child up for a successful visit and can make future visits a positive experience. Educating your child through your dental visit, role playing, and reading books together can help alleviate fears.
Let Your Child Watch
Before a visit to the Oshawa dentist, your child may wonder is it going to hurt? What will happen? What if I don’t want to let them look at my teeth? A good way to make your child more comfortable is to take him along with you to a dental appointment.
During your visit, he will get to see how the office looks, sounds, and smells. Letting him see you get your teeth checked and cleaned can let him know what to expect and see exactly what is going to happen at his appointment. He’ll be able to see the instruments and meet people that work at the office, which will let him see that these people are not to be feared.
Children learn through play. Playing dentist together can let him explore his fears. You can first pretend to examine your child’s doll. Show him how the teeth will be counted, brushed and flossed. Depending on your child’s age, you may want to begin talking about ‘sugar’ bugs and how to keep them away.
On the next patient, let your child be in charge. How he speaks to the ‘patient’ and handles the unknown will give you good insight into his state of mind. If he is reassuring the patient and using a calm voice, you will know he is creating a positive image of the dentist’s office.
Read Books Together
Sitting down together to read a book not only provides time for family bonding but also opens the door for discussions about expectations and how to behave. There are all kinds of children’s books about the anatomy of teeth, how to keep them healthy, and proper dental care.
Books like Open Wide by Laurie Keller and Melvin the Magnificent Molar by Laura Jana can educate your child and open a dialogue between the two of you. Children often feel fear but don’t know how to express it. Books give them a chance to see characters that are similar to them and have similar feelings, giving your child a context in which to express their worries.
Confidence and Reassurance
The more your child knows, the less fear he will experience. He can walk into his dental appointment with confidence knowing what to expect and what is expected of him.