Many parents—in fact, we might even say most parents—struggle to take young children to visit the dentist. The dentist office can seem like a very scary place, and small children are unable to understand the long-term benefits of preventative oral care. Luckily, we see young patients every day, so we have learned some tips and tricks along the way to help make it easier! Below is advice on taking your toddler to the dentist.
Before the visit, talk to your child about the upcoming appointment and try to build excitement and understanding. Picture books about teeth and dentists can help prepare children in an atmosphere with which they are already familiar. If the child is old enough and has enough fine motor skills, you may want to teach them to “brush” their teeth—or tooth—with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Even if they don’t quite understand what they are doing, it will establish a good habit for the future. (If the child is still a baby, do not apply toothpaste to the brush just yet, as they will likely swallow it.)
If your child dislikes brushing their teeth, they will probably bring those negative associations with them to the dentist’s office. You can make brushing more exciting by purchasing a flavored toothpaste, like chocolate, marshmallow, blue raspberry or banana. While most of these toothpastes do not contain fluoride, this is actually beneficial when it comes to children and toddlers, because fluoride-free toothpaste can be swallowed. While your child brushes, say things like “won’t the dentist be happy to see our nice clean teeth!” to encourage excitement.
Before your child’s dental visit, decide what course of action you will take if he or she is non-cooperative. If the child is frightened or uncomfortable, it might be necessary to reschedule. The dentist’s office should be a place that he or she only experiences on peaceful, accepting terms, and forcing the appointment to continue will only cause more harm in the long run.
In order to minimize the likelihood of a negative experience, we recommend scheduling your appointment early in the day, when the child is most alert and fresh. And lastly, remember that your child has never experienced the dentist’s office, and any dread they feel will be learned from observing you. So, if you’re worried about tantrums, put on a brave face and go full course ahead!
If you would like to schedule a tooth cleaning or other dental appointment in Statesville, call the office of Robert Schmidt DMD! Dr. Schmidt and his outstanding team will be delighted to help you with all your oral health needs. To get in touch, click here!