Seven Ways To Help Your Child Have A Positive Dentist Appointment

Health & Medical Blog

Up to 20% of Americans are afraid of going to the dentist. As a parent, you can help your child overcome this fear early on. Here are seven things you can do to help your child have a positive dentist appointment. 

1. Bring their favorite music. Listening to some music will drown out the sounds of the dentist and give your child something else to focus on. Make sure you bring smaller earphones that won't get in the dentist's way. 

2. Bring something for them to hold. If your child has a favorite stuffed animal or blanket make sure you bring it to the appointment with you.

3. Ask if your child can watch a movie. Some dentist offices have televisions but if yours doesn't you can bring an iPad or other device. It may be difficult for your child to hold it so you can hold it up for them if you need to. Bring headphones because it will be easier for them to hear the sound. 

4. Set a timer. Tell your child that the hygienist will clean their teeth for three minutes, look at their teeth for one minute, etc. Talk to the hygienist beforehand to set the times. Your child can either hold the timer so they can watch the time going down or you can hold it up for them to see every so often. 

5. Lay your child's head in your lap. If your child is really nervous, ask if there is a way you can sit so that your child can lay their head in your lap. They will feel more comfortable knowing you are right there. If this isn't possible, hold their hand and stroke their hair.

6. Set up a "squeeze" system. Tell them to squeeze your hand once if they are nervous, twice if something hurts, three times if they want the dentist to stop. It can be hard for children to feel like they can't communicate with you during the cleaning so this will help. 

7. Respect their feelings. Your child will be more likely to visit the dentist again in the future if their feelings are heard and respected. If they get too scared, leave. While visiting the dentist is important, it is more important for them to have a positive experience. You don't want them to dread going back because it can cause a lifetime of problems. If all your child does is meet the pediatric dentist and sit in the chair, that's a good start. You can always try again in a few months. 

Good luck! 


2 February 2015

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