5 Easy Ways to Help Calm Your Kids at the Dentist
Is your child nervous about their dental checkup? It’s completely normal for them to be! Kid’s first couple dental checkups can be frightening experiences – people are looking in their mouths while wearing face masks and gloves, there are unfamiliar noises and smells, and to top it all off, there are random tools scattered everywhere. Heck, even adults can find these intimidating at times. Your child’s reaction is completely valid – But as a parent, it’s important to calm and eventually diminish those fears of going to the dentist.
At Huntington Smiles, we understand that dental visits can be scary so it is our goal to ensure that each child has a positive and fun experience while at the office. Parents, it is your job to ensure comfort and calmness before their actual checkup. Here are 5 ways we think you can help calm your kids before their first couple of dental visits!
How does a good clinic help your children at the dentist?
It’s important to find a dental clinic that makes you and your child feel somewhat at ease. Once you’ve found the right clinic, we recommend you drop by before your child’s appointment, just to get them familiar with the new place. Oftentimes, children become scared in new environments, so it is important to familiarize them with the place as well as the team beforehand!
At Huntington Smiles, we value both you and your child’s comfort and want to make this experience as positively memorable as possible. We are committed to building a relationship with every patient and parent based on compassion and trust and will treat your child as if they were one of our own! Here are some ways we can make this happen:
Encouraging Children at the Dentist
We ask you to avoid using words that may scare your child unnecessarily. We pride ourselves on using terminology that conveys terms in a non-threatening way. As thoroughly trained pediatric specialists, we have ways of easing patients into their dental experience in an encouraging way.
Our team members as well as our doctors have one common goal, which is to treat your child in the way you want and expect. When entering our clinic you join our family and we like to keep the environment as kid-friendly and warm as possible.
A Friendly Dentist Office Space
From the moment your child walks in, they will stop and wonder what planet they’re actually on! Our office is quite literally out of this world, following a spaceship theme throughout the entire space. When you first enter, you and your child will be confronted by a waiting room that offers video games. Who wouldn’t love playing video games in the middle of space! Sometimes we even catch ourselves hanging around this exciting space!
The fun doesn’t end there — all of our cleaning/procedure rooms (which continue exhibiting the spaceship theme) are equipped with TVs on the ceilings to ensure optimal comfort for your child. They’re fully loaded with Netflix, Amazon Prime & Disney+ for your child’s viewing pleasure!
Rewards for Great Smiles
To provide a more positive reinforcement approach, your child will receive a bag of goodies after their dental visits! These will include (based on the season) but are not limited to, a dental magnet, a smaller bag with oral hygiene necessities – including a new toothbrush, and a cool new toy from the prize drawer!
My child freaks out at the dentist. Should I still take them?
To properly prepare your child for their dental checkups, it’s essential to be transparent about the importance of these visits + oral hygiene itself. Start getting them familiar with a toothbrush and/or floss at a young age, and walk them through why keeping their teeth happy and healthy is imperative for overall health.
For further comfort around the topic, you may want to start practicing the act of oral care at home, before their initial appointments. Sit them down and show them how a dentist may inspect their teeth – in a manner that may seem non-threatening to them. Your child’s overall familiarity with these things will provide extra comfort when they go in for their checkup, and make for an overall calmer and happier visit – with no fear in sight!
Are kids dental checkups necessary?
Dental checkups are absolutely an essential part of growing into a healthy oral care routine, both as a kid and as an adult. We make the process as easy as possible so dentist visits become something to look forward to!
Can I bring dental office toys for kids?
You are more than welcome to bring comfort items such as blankets or toys to our office. Some great suggestions are to go a step further and read the following books or watch these TV shows.
Let your kids watch TV shows or read books that emphasize going to the dentist. There are many TV shows and books that show some of your child’s favorite characters going to the dentist. Here is a list of some:
Books About the Dentist for Kids
TV Shows About the Dentist for Kids
Can I go to the back with my child at the dentist?
At Huntington Smiles, we do everything we can to make your child feel comfortable during their dental care routine. Please speak with someone in our office for more information about this.
How can I teach my kids to brush?
Children are constantly learning new things, and most of those behaviors, mannerisms, and perspectives are learned from their immediate surroundings. This is why it’s essential to be a good role model to your kids.
In terms of dental checkups, as a parent, you should start taking your kids to your own routine cleanings in order to familiarize them with the atmosphere. If they see you taking it like a champ, chances are they will try their best to as well when their time comes to visit the dentist.
Another great way to be a role model is to exercise good oral care yourself. Engage in brushing and flossing at a consistent rhythm and allow your children to be present when you’re doing so. Let them ask questions and encourage them to embark on the oral hygiene journey themselves.
Dentist FAQs for Kids
Risk of general anesthesia on a child aged 3 and over is considered safe. Of course we always do a thorough review of medical history and weigh the risks vs. benefits of the treatment the child needs with the level of sedation patient would require prior to making a decision to sedate a child to safely complete dental treatment.
We make the kid’s dental appointments more fun by providing a fun atmosphere and keeping the environment light. We try to distract kids with jokes and stories to keep them motivated through appointments. Our office provides TVs in every room to keep kids occupied while undergoing dental treatment.
We calm patients by talking to kids on their level. Telling them everything we are going to do step by step and show kids our tools and instruments to show them there is nothing scary. We also speak to kids in terms they understand so they are not fearful of what is about to happen or unsure of what the doctor is going to do to them.
You can reduce dental anxiety by preparing your child in a positive manner for an appointment. Tell them how great and fun the dentist is, and definitely don’t use scary terms like “shot” or “hurt” when preparing your child for the appointment.
At a kid’s dentist the first visit usually consists of an introduction to the dental environment and our staff. We usually show them the office and do an easy appointment where we count their teeth and clean them.
We try to take X-rays of their teeth to detect any problems or cavities. After that they usually return for treatment such as fillings, baby root canals or sometimes extractions of their teeth.
The doctors talk children through procedures and show them everything that is going to happen to make them as comfortable as possible.
Visiting the dentist doesn't have to be scary!
While many children can be nervous before their first couple dental appointments, with proper support, patience, and an overall positive attitude, you can help ease your kids’ fears and make going to their appointments fun! With just these 5 steps, your child will be so familiarized with oral care that they might even start enjoying the act of going to the dentist!
Research shows, and we believe that families who establish a dental home are more likely to receive the appropriate level of preventive and routine oral care. At Huntington Smiles, we like to create this connection with your family early to ensure your children have a positive dental experience and always know what to expect when they walk into our doors. We’re always here to help so don’t hesitate to reach out to us to get more information!