How to Lessen Anxiety Over your Kid’s First Visit to the Family Dentist
As a Weston family dentist office we treat a large and growing number of kids at our practice. From time to time we think it is a good idea to remind parents just how important getting children started with good dental hygiene habits is and how important their part as role models are.
Kids are generally ok in situations that are predictable. For example they rarely exhibit anxiety when they are faced with routine family activities like bath time, getting ready for bed, dinnertime etc. They know what to expect and because they do they have no anxiety.
Getting your child ready for their first visit to the dentist (a new and therefor unpredictable experience) can be made easier if you take the time to familiarize him or her with what to expect (in general terms). Rule number one is not to mention anything that can be associated with pain. Don’t use euphemisms like “uncomfortable” or “you might feel a little pinch” and certainly don’t bring up your own experiences to prove how grown up it is to see the dentist.
Easing the anxiety kids have about dentists
When your child asks what the dentist is going to do answer in very general (but truthful) terms like he’s going to ask you to say “ahh” and then he’s going to count your teeth and check your smile. You may even want to role play at that point. Have your child sit down, say ahh and then use a tooth brush and count his or her teeth. If you hold up a mirror they can see what’s going on and the experience is no longer totally unpredictable.
If you have no personal anxiety about visiting the dentist, you may want to bring your child with you on your next appointment. This way they can become familiar with the surroundings and sample the toys, blankets, TV and aquarium that we keep just for kids.
Dr. Pyle has been treating kids for over 25 years and is an expert in managing their anxiety and concerns. He knows how to explain the sounds, smells and sensations to minimize the worry in a child’s mind. Leave the “explaining” to him and don’t attempt to explain x-rays, cavities or any other procedures. Just tell your kids that the dentist is the person who keeps their teeth strong and healthy.
If you have any questions about scheduling your child’s first appointment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.