If your toddler has been growing teeth since they were a few months old, it's probably time that they finally get a chance to sit in the dentist chair. This can be a strange and confusing time for them, which is why they need you to provide much needed guidance and encouragement before and during the experience. Prepare your toddler with these tips.
An effective way to understand what your toddler might be feeling and thinking about this new experience is to play with them. You can set up a role-play scenario in which one of your child's dolls or bears is visiting a dentist. You can play the role of either the toy or the dentist but watch and listen carefully to how your toddler is acting. If they are playing the role of the dentist and being mean or hurting the toy, that could indicate what they expect at their own visit. If they are role-playing the toy, they may reveal how they are afraid of what happens next. This kind of play can enable you to learn more about your toddler and take action to ease any fears.
You can also run through a play scenario in which your toddler pretends that you are their dentist. You can go through the actions that a dentist might go through so that your child isn't surprised by anything that happens in a real visit.
Choose Family Dentists
Family dentists serve all ages, so they know how to make your toddler comfortable. They might permit television watching during the visit or allow your child to bring one of their favorite stuffed animals to sit in the chair with them. They are likely to have dental stickers, snacks or small toys that your child can have as a reward for a good visit.
You may in fact want to switch your own dentist to a family dentist so that you have the opportunity to bring your toddler with you before they even need to start thinking about dental visits. If your child is familiar with the office and has seen you get your exam many times, when it's their turn they are more likely to feel at ease.
These suggestions prepare your small one for the excitement of a dental visit. You may want to check with your dentist's office to see if there is anything in particular they'd like you to do before you bring your toddler in to be seen.