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How to Help Your Child Look Forward to Going to the Dentist

A child in a warm fuzzy hood, laughing with her eyes closed.

It’s a fact: too many kids hate going to the dentist. There are many reasons for them to be less than thrilled with a dental visit, ranging from fear of pain to stress brought on by the loud sounds and sharp instruments found in the office. 

Did you know that a parent can pass dental fear and anxiety to their children? If you’re not relaxed and calm at the office, the odds are that your child’s dental visits will be stressful, too. 

How do you help your child look forward to going to the dentist? Here are a few tips to leave the dental stress behind and make your child’s visits fun.

Make the Dental Visit Part of a Fun Day

Make sure to plan fun activities around the appointment. Play in the park before the visit, for instance, or plan a visit to a zoo afterwards. When the dentist is not the focus of the day, it’s not as big of a deal for your child.

Start Oral Care Early

The sooner you begin implementing good oral hygiene with your kids, the better the dental visits will go. A visit that has less complications, such as cavities, will be far more enjoyable for your child. Make sure to begin scheduling dental visits from an early age to ensure your child is familiar with the dentist and the office environment. In fact, experts recommend a dental exam by the age of one.

Stay Calm

Your child looks to you for comfort in stressful situations. A fear of the dentist is often a learned behavior. Make an effort to stay calm and relaxed before the visit, in the waiting room, and while your child is in the dentist’s chair. Use positive language, such as “you get to go to the dentist today” rather than “you have to go to the dentist today.” Because fear of the dentist is often learned behavior, think about how you can teach something more positive than fear! 

Don’t Surprise Your Child with a Dental Visit

Let your child know when a dental visit is approaching. Your child may love most surprises, but a visit to the dentist may not be one of them. Be ready to answer any questions they have about the upcoming visit as honestly and directly as you can.

Positive Reinforcement

There’s a reason pediatric dentists have a bucket of goodies for kids. Positive reinforcement is a great way to reward children for facing their fears! Reward them with a special treat after the visit and they will soon look forward to going to the dentist.

Choose a Pediatric Dentist

A child with long hair smiles at a dentist in a mask and gloves, who is showing the child a dental mirror.

A pediatric dentist is best equipped to deal with your child’s dental needs. Their offices are fun, their equipment is tot-sized so kids don’t feel overwhelmed, and the staff is experienced in dealing with the dental needs of children of all ages. 

Did you know that pediatric dentists have several years of additional training to specialize in kids’ oral health issues? They are uniquely qualified to work on baby teeth, developing teeth, and childhood oral complications of all kinds. Additionally, many pediatric dentists are trained in caring for special needs children, too. 

Everyone in a pediatric dental office, including hygienists, are trained to work with children. They understand how to deal with fearful and anxious young patients, and will work to ensure the visit is enjoyable. Finding the right pediatric dentist is a great way to make sure your kids look forward to going to the dentist!

At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry, we specialize in making your kids feel like family. To find out more or schedule an appointment, contact us now.

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