There’s lots of advice out there telling parents how to talk to their children about visiting the dentist. Today, we’re here to tell you what not to say!
Visiting the dentist can be a bit intimidating for children at the beginning. While our office environment here at Smile Town North Delta has been designed to make kids feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible, it’s still not always easy.
It’s a new environment, full of new people, in which your child will experience unfamiliar things. And for children not yet used to dental care, having their teeth and mouths examined can feel oppressive or invasive.
You can make this experience easier on your child by preparing him or her ahead of time with a gentle, honest discussion about what to expect.
But there are some common pitfalls parents experience when embarking on this discussion, and we’re here to help you avoid them!
When talking to your child about visiting the dentist, try to avoid the following:
Words like ‘drill’, ‘shot’ or ‘needle’ ought to be avoided, as they might alarm your child. Our team introduces a special vocabulary to children when they visits, to help them get through the scary stuff.
Which means you should also avoid...
Going through a detailed, step-by-step description of the dental examination and cleaning will only make your child try to picture what will happen, which might be scary and confusing.
It also opens you up to questions that could put you in the position of using some of the scary words above.
The simplest thing to tell children about what will happen during a dental appointment is that the dentist will examine their smiles, and count their teeth. That’s it!
Talking about your own negative experiences
Telling your child about your own uncomfortable, scary, or painful dental experiences in an effort to ‘relate’ to his or her anxiety will only make that anxiety worse.
You can learn more about how to be a good oral health care influence here.
Much like going into detail about things you know will happen, try to avoid speculating about what might happen if you child has a cavity, if you child needs a special dental or orthodontic appliance, what the fluoride treatment might taste like, how long certain things will take, etc., etc,. This will only result in unnecessary worrying and fretting.
It may seem like a good idea to promise a reward for good behaviour at the dentist’s office, but this may actually increase your child’s sense of apprehension.
When you say, ‘if you’re good and don’t cry, you’ll get a treat afterwards,’ your child may wonder about what might make him want to cry or misbehave during the appointment.