According to Colgate, 30-40 million adults just in the US have dental phobia, let alone the kids. This is just a small effort to change that, starting with the little ones. For all the grown-ups, there is a fun article coming around next week, stay tuned. For now let’s ease the nightmare of taking your little monkeys to the dentist, twice, every single year.
Start early: one can never over-emphasize this statement. The first dental visit should be scheduled around their first birthday, irrespective of how many teeth they have. The idea here is, to make this a normal part of life, nothing big to fuss about. Children introduced in this manner deal way better than children who are taken to the dentist when they’re maybe 10 and suffering from some dental problem. The second group then affiliates the dental clinic with a painful experience.
Do your homework well: Gone are the days when dental offices looked so depressing with all the huge machines making scary noises. Look for a kid-friendly dental office, with a decent waiting room, and cheerful working space with a few fun elements, if not a super fancy one. Some dental offices these days try to replicate their clinic to the play centers kids never want to leave. While this is one of the criteria to choose your dentist, read my blog on 6 practical tips to choose your dentist for all the other factors to consider.
Make sure they eat before the visit: Hungry children are most vulnerable to irritation, so feed them well. You should factor in that you might have to wait for a while before your turn comes in case someone’s treatment takes longer than expected. This instruction is specifically for the first visit, for future appointments you need to ask your dentist about the meals before and after the treatment.
Dress them in comfortable clothes: Even with all the precautions taken, dental visits can get overwhelming and tight clothes causing discomfort will not help the situation. A lot of parents are under stress to dress up their kids well before a visit to any doctor. As far as the kid is comfortable the doctors do not mind other things. If you are taking them directly from school, it is ok to loosen the tie and stuff, you get the point.
Be a good role model: If children see their parents regularly going to the dentists, and being all cool about it they will take the cue. So go your dentist twice a year, if possible take your kids along, and show them how easy the dental visits are.
Do not stress, it is going to be ok: Seriously, you need to calm down first, there are too many instances where my pediatric patients are doing pretty ok, but the parents look like they will get an anxiety attack any minute. And as much as we sense it, children sense it too. So take it easy, the dental visits are to prevent them from getting any pain, not the other way around.