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Some people may feel like taking their child to the dentist is a daunting task, one they dread when their appointment comes around. Others may feel that it is one of their easier tasks. For those who don’t feel the best about that trip to the dentist with their kiddo, what are some of the best ways to help make that experience a better one, not only for the kids but parents too?
First and foremost, one of the most important things to remember when taking your cautious kiddo to the dentist is getting excited yourself. If a child sees that their parents or family members are excited about that trip to the dentist then that helps in easing any anxiety they may have. Kids adopt attitudes and behaviors of their parents. So you want to get them excited? Be excited yourself.
Select the right dentist
Finding a dentist who works well with your nervous little one is also essential. You want to make sure that your child feels comfortable with the person that you choose to look after their dental health. But consistency in their dental appointments is important. Making sure to schedule your child regularly for their appointments will help them to become more and more comfortable with not only the dentist but the hygienist and assistant so that the dental anxiety will eventually fade.
Prepare for the appointment ahead of time
Another great suggestion is to bring things that help comfort your little one, like a teddy bear or blanket to cuddle up to. Getting a good night’s sleep the night before is as important as making sure you aren’t bringing a hungry kiddo to see the dentist. We all feel a little thrown off when we are hungry or sleepy; now imagine how you would feel going to see the dentist as a child being sleepy or hungry. Don’t overdo the meal by giving them a big breakfast or lunch. If their anxiety is severe enough it could cause them to get sick. But definitely making sure they don’t have an empty tummy is important.
Discuss with them all the benefits of going to the dentist, of course in terms that they will understand. Talk about how having healthy teeth is an important part of growing up to be big and strong. And the best time to do that is during your brushing and flossing time at home. Help them to learn the correct way of brushing, by using gentle and circular movements along the gums. And, make sure to get behind those last little molars in the back and floss every night.
Now, you might also be asking, “What is a good age to start taking my child to the dentist and how often should I be scheduling them?”
When and how often kids should see the dentist
By the age of one, most children’s first few teeth have pushed their way through. Even if it’s just a few teeth, this is the perfect time to get your little one started on a good dental hygiene regimen. Once you’ve established that first appointment and found the dentist you feel comfortable with, it’s best to keep appointments scheduled for at least every six months.
When to see a dentist vs. a doctor
With toddlers who are still a little wobbly on their feet sometimes, falls tend to happen a little more frequently. A lot of parents will question if they should take their child to the emergency room or a dentist in the event that their child falls and hits his/her mouth. Most emergency facilities can’t do more than give you a pain pill or an antibiotic for an infection. Generally it is best to seek a dentist’s help for any dental related problem. If head trauma involving the teeth causes other problems, then there may be a reason to go to an emergency room. When head trauma leads to worse problems, then teeth can wait.
When to see an orthodontist
For those older children who are getting some permanent or adult teeth, you may be asking, “When is a good time to visit the orthodontist?”
Generally, the dentist will give that recommendation to schedule in a consultation with the orthodontists. Most orthodontic offices will offer free consultations at any age. An evaluation usually tends to come into the conversation at age seven.
At The Dentists for Kids, our doctors strive in helping our patients understand the importance of taking care of their teeth each and every day with essential reminders and great tips and tricks for improving hygiene and habits at home. With our motto, “Welcome to fun,” we couldn’t help but go the extra mile to make dental visits fun for all. Dr. Peter Gurr and Dr. Scott Jensen love serving the children of our practice and they greet each one as their very own – making the same recommendations they would for their own children. From your first visit, our doctors will stress all the important factors to having good dental hygiene. And we always make sure that you don’t leave our office without some prizes, balloon animals, a healthy snack, and of course all your questions answered.
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