Getting Your Toddler Ready for the Dentist
A dentist office can be an intimidating place for a small child, especially when they are just starting to attend for regular teeth cleanings and are not as familiar with general procedure. Our pediatric dentists are trained to provide your child with a comfortable experience every visit but it is also your role as a parent or guardian to help ease them into the appointment itself.
Whether this is your child’s first visit in our office or they’ve been a few times but still feel anxious, there are ways that you can help keep your toddler calm before they reach the exam chair.
Talk to Them
Before their dental appointment, your toddler may have some questions they’d like for you to answer. It is best to respond to each question asked with clear and positive language so they do not become confused or overwhelmed. For example, if you are asked what the dentist does or why your child has to go, you can reply by explaining that the dentist is a doctor who makes sure a person’s teeth are healthy and strong.
When speaking with your toddler, you should focus on telling them what they want to hear at that moment. Providing too many details will only lead to confusion so it is better to let our dentist or hygienists answer more complex questions from your child as they are trained to describe things in easy to understand terms.
Come Well Rested
Putting your toddler to bed at a reasonable hour the night before their dental visit will not only make the next day easier for you but it will also in theory put them in a better mood for the appointment. Simply showing up to our office refreshed and not cranky or irritable will already make the entire experience go much smoother for everyone involved, especially your little one.
Before tucking them in, remember to assist your toddler with teeth brushing as it will both help them feel prepared for the next day and instill proper oral hygiene habits.
Bring an Item of Comfort
Does your child have a favorite toy they’re always playing with or even a piece of clothing they like to wear because of how it makes them feel? This is something to consider when bringing them to their visit as the item may ease their nerves and increase confidence with regards to what is expected of them.
A good practice is to bring the chosen item along for your toddler to have in the waiting room or even in the chair at every six month checkup until they feel they have reached the point where they can come in without it.
Stay Relaxed and Supportive
Oral health is an important concept to enforce early on in your child’s life so be sure to explain that they will be entering a friendly environment with dentists that just want to keep their teeth clean.
You should avoid relaying to them your own unpleasant dental experiences or using any words like “hurt”, “shot”, or “painful” that may scare them. Let them know that you will be there for them and more importantly, reinforce that they can do this. If you remain relaxed and encouraging throughout the process, they will come to understand that there is nothing to fear.
Bring Your Toddler in Today
If your child is due for their next teeth cleaning or you’d like to start their oral health journey, our pediatric dentist in Hudsonville, MI, can help put them on the path toward a great smile. Call our office today at (616) 209-4039 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Powell and our team of specialists. We can’t wait to see you and your child!