For many kids, a trip to the dentist is easy breezy, and the whole appointment takes place with surprisingly few hitches. For other kids, however, the experience can feel frightening or intimidating. Fortunately, there are many ways to help them feel comfortable, even before their scheduled appointment takes place. Here are five tips to help a child who is fearful feel ready for the dentist’s chair:
1. Talk about it. You can help unveil the mystery behind the dentist’s office by talking to kids about the new experience. However, try not to make it sound like a big deal. Kids have a knack for reading their parents’ anxiety; if you’re anxious about the appointment, they’ll notice!
2. Use kid-friendly words. While you’re talking, avoid using words like needle or drill. This can frighten kids unnecessarily. At the office, we use pediatric dental terms, like “picture” for “x-ray,” or “tooth shower” for “water rinse.”
3. Invite questions. Kids may have plenty of questions you wouldn’t expect, such as what does the dentist’s office look like? Our website includes a photo tour of our facility to show them. Let them know that their dentist will welcome all the questions they may have on the day of their visit.
4. Read a book about the dentist. There are many great ones out there, such as The Berenstein Bears Visit the Dentist, The Tooth Book, Just Going to the Dentist, and What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist.
5. Bring a favorite stuffy. Young ones may appreciate having a familiar companion sit with them on the chair. Stuffies are welcome at our office!