If you have a child who is nervous about attending a dental checkup, he or she might act in a manner that makes the entire visit to the pediatric dentist's office unpleasant for everyone. Dental phobia is something that many children experience, but the solution isn't to simply avoid the dentist. Children should typically visit the dentist twice per year, but there's no need to have to dread these two dates circled on your calendar. Instead, there are a number of different ways that you can help to increase your child's comfort with visiting the dentist and make the entire experience smoother for everyone.
Schedule Checkups At The Right Time
As a parent, you have an understanding of when your child is at his or her "best" during the day. For young children, this time might be shortly after an early afternoon nap and before hunger starts to kick in during the pre-dinner hours. Do your best to schedule the child's dental checkups during this window; it's a better alternative than booking the appointment early in the morning, for example, if your child is fussy soon after waking up. For older children, you might wish to schedule the checkup before something about which the child is excited. This way, you'll be able to remind that child that upon getting through the checkup, it will be time for the weekend, a sporting event or something else that uplifts the child.
Provide Useful Distractions
Keeping your child distracted while at the dentist can be beneficial. You can often distract young children by not only sitting in the examination room with them, but also providing toys that can capture their attention. When dealing with older children who are nervous in this setting, a tablet with a favorite TV show, movie or video game can be helpful, while an MP3 loaded with a few of the child's favorite songs is also suitable. These distractions draw the child's attention and prevent him or her from focusing on every element of the checkup.
Allow Older Children To Voice Their Concerns
While younger children might be fussy at the dentist's office simply because it's a new set of surroundings, older children might have heard scary stories about the dentist from friends or elsewhere. Encourage your child to share why he or she is nervous and do your best to assuage this fear. You can also contact the dentist's office and ask if you can meet the dentist a few minutes before the appointment so that your child can share the same concerns. Pediatric dentists are trained and experienced in dealing with fussy children, and the dentist should be able to calm your child's nerves.
Contact a dental clinic like Kids First Pediatric Dentistry to learn more.