Although it’s recommended children visit the dentist for the first time starting at a very young age, that doesn’t make it any easier to get them used to it.
With children as young as six months old coming in to see a pediatric dentist with their first tooth, it’s important that dental hygiene staff and doctors are well trained to handle all patients with care. We want to create a healthy relationship between your child and their pediatric dentist.
Tips for Helping Kids Feel Comfortable at the Pediatric Dentist
If you’re at a loss for how to help your child feel comfortable about visiting the dentist, we have some tips after years in the business.
Visit the Dentist Young
The best time to start bringing your child to the dentist is when they have their first tooth, or when they’re a year old (whichever comes first). This recommendation comes from the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). Making an appointment when you see the first tooth emerging can help even young children learn the importance of caring for their teeth right from the start. It can also introduce them to the concept of visiting a pediatric dentist before they have a chance to learn from others that it’s something to be nervous about.
Bring Your Child to a Pediatric Dentistry Office
At Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry, we specialize in pediatrics because we know it’s important to establish good hygiene habits at a young age. Dr. Scott Jensen studied beyond traditional dental services and is certified in pediatric dentistry. He didn’t simply add pediatrics to his practice; he focuses on it. Kids are smart, and they can tell if the people at the dentist’s office are comfortable with them.
At Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry, we’re not just putting on a front. We are here for your kids! Our office is designed with children in mind, so the dentist chair and the tools we use are just the right sizes for them. Additionally, our staff knows how to talk to children, and how to provide efficient services so you’re not spending your whole day in a waiting room before a routine checkup.
Be an Example of Healthy Oral Hygiene
Beyond brushing and flossing at home, let your kids be aware that you also visit the dentist. If you’re going in for a routine cleaning with your own dentist, bring your kids with you to see what it’s like. Get them familiar with the process, even if it’s not their turn in the dentist’s chair. Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry offers services to children into their teens, so if older siblings are visiting Dr. Jensen and his staff, it’s another good opportunity to bring the little ones along to see what it’s all about.
Anticipate the Needs of Your Child
Some children don’t need a lot of explanation before trying something new. They may happily explore the dentist’s office and hop right into the chair. Other kids might have a lot of questions, so you’ll need to do more prep work before you leave the house. Whichever circumstance you find yourself in, keep an open, positive dialogue going about the dentist. Let your child know the dentist’s goal is to check how great their smile is and to keep it healthy and strong.
If you think your child might benefit from a visit to the dentist without any services provided, get in touch with the office to see about just viewing where the magic happens. It may be helpful to meet the staff who will treat your child, and see what the dental chair and instruments look like. You could also print photos for your child, or have a pretend dental cleaning experience together at home.
Keep it Simple
When you’re talking with your child about visiting the dentist, keep it simple. Use positive language, and allow them to guide the conversation. If they ask about specific procedures or what it will feel like, be honest but avoid putting an emphasis on discomfort. Sometimes the anticipation of pain is worse than the pain itself! Additionally, allow the dental hygiene staff and the pediatric dentist to do a lot of the explaining once you’re in the office. With training in pediatrics, the staff has the knowledge and experience to help kids understand what will be going on for various procedures. You may be able to simply explain a cleaning to your child, but it may be more difficult to explain more complicated services such as root canals or orthodontia.
Give us a call today for a consultation if you live in or around Timpanogos. We’re here to help you and your kids learn the importance of oral hygiene from infancy into adolescence.