It’s possible that you have your own anxieties or fears about dental visits.
It’s easy to pass these on to children by discussing everything that worries you about dental treatment. This may inadvertently make kids less likely to succeed in a dental office before they’ve even had their first visit. Remember that pediatric dentists are specially trained to make dental visits a pleasant experience for all children and increase their chances at a lifetime of great oral health.
If your child is younger than 3, they are likely regular attendees at a pediatrician’s office. Visiting the doctor might mean painful vaccinations, so it’s normal that a toddler will be skeptical of visiting the office of a dentist for the first time. As you’re brushing teeth with your child in the days leading up to his or her first visit, let them know that a tooth doctor is going to help brush and count teeth. There’s no need to go into details about cavities or dental treatment, since the first trip to a dentist almost never involves anything painful except possibly in the case of emergency trauma care.
For older children, it’s possible that they may one day require treatment, such as a filling or extraction. If the child will require local anesthesia for the procedure in order to be comfortable and safe, avoid going into detail about the syringe, the “shot”, or the needle. Instead, let the child know in age-appropriate language that the dentist might make the tooth feel “sleepy” so that he or she can fix it. Most dentists use strong topical gels to numb the gums before needing to deliver local anesthetic. It can be an easy experience for most kids when they aren’t burdened by traumatizing stories and imagery from adults and siblings beforehand.
Depending on the maturity of the child, use your best judgment about sharing whether or not there may be discomfort involved in any visit. Dentists recommend letting them and their skilled staff do the hard part of explaining everything at the right developmental level so that children are confident, comfortable and secure in every encounter.
Call your dental office before your child visits if you have specific questions about how to preview the experience at home. Some kids do well with storybooks that go into detail about the typical layout of a dental office, special instruments used to help teeth, etc. Other kids are not concerned with the details and prefer to see it for themselves in person and interact with staff one-on-one. Your dentist will customize his or her approach for your child to make it the best experience possible.Back to Dental Topics
Dr. Shane Fisher
Dr. Shane Fisher, a board certified pediatric dentist, has over 15 years of providing comprehensive dental care for infants, children and teenagers. He has consistently received 5 star ratings throughout social media. He has patients that travel from all over the metropolitan area including Mequon, Whitefish Bay, Thiensville, River Hills, Fox Point, Glendale and other northern Milwaukee suburbs.
If you would like for your child to have a great experience at a pediatric dentist, please call Dr. Shane A. Fisher at The Kids Dentist 262-241-0400 or complete an online appointment request.