There are many things parents can do to help their child have a positive dental experience:
Play dentist at home with them. Role play with your child and let them pretend to clean and “count your teeth” and vice versa. They can also pretend to clean and “count teeth” of a favorite stuffed animal. Use a chair and a mirror if you have it to play going to visit to the dentist.
Read dental storybooks to them. There are many available online that you can read together about going to the dentist. We will give your child a dental coloring book to take home on their first visit as well.
Talk to them about going to the dentist. Use the word dentist instead of doctor if possible. Keep it very simple and talk to them about how the dentist will “count” your teeth to make sure their teeth are strong and healthy and that they will get a new toothbrush on their visit.
When talking to them avoid using phrases like “everything is going to be fine” as it may make them think that there “might” be something to worry about. Our staff has child friendly words that we will use to describe any treatment that may be needed.
Avoid using words like “hurt, shots, painful, drill, etc.”Only use positive and comforting words like “check your smile” and “count your teeth.” These and other words can be scary for kids and instill a fear. Our staff has child friendly words that we will use to describe any treatment that may be needed.
Occasionally parents will have had a negative experience as a child, or a dental phobia that sometimes gets passed along to their child by describing a negative experience or talking about when they got a shot, etc. Please avoid any negative words about dental experiences if possible and talk to you child using only simple and positive words about “checking your smile” and “counting your teeth” to keep them strong and healthy.
Bring a favorite toy to their first visit. You can take pictures as well of their “first trip to the dentist”.