Parents play a major role in preparing their child to make the first dental visit an enjoyable experience.
Advice on how to make the first visit pleasant
- Speaking to the child about the dental visit is a good preparation, but by limiting the details. Questions should be answered in a simple manner, the more complex questions should be left for the dentist or pedodontist (specialist for kids) to be answered. These professionals are trained to describe the instruments to the children in a less threatening manner and a more comprehensible language.
- Never tell a child about a bad experience that the parent has had at the dentist.
- emphasising on the importance of the oral hygiene of the child at home, and explaining that the dentist is a friendly person who makes sure that the oral hygiene methods are proper, is all part of the child’s preparation.
- It is not advised to promise a reward after the dental visit.
It is important to remember that it is normal for children to be more or less worried, either because they are separated from their parent or because of the fear of the unknown. A dentist who treats children knows how to react with those who are scared and has abilities to make them at ease.
Methods to calm down a child
Children’s fears can be expressed in many ways. Some cry, others throw things. The dentist can use many techniques to calm down the child:
- Control of the voice. The dentist can use a calm and soft voice, making it firm when necessary.
- Simple instructions. The dentist uses simple words and can demonstrate an example on an object or a mannequin before treating the child.
- Distraction. The dentist can tell a story to divert the child’s attention.
- Sedation. The dentist or pedodontist can use a sedative to calm down a more agitated child. The sedative can be either a gas (nitrous oxide) or a medication (Ativan or Valium).
WebMD, better information, better health (www.webmd.com).
The information above should be used as a reference only. Any medical decision should not be taken before consulting a health care professional.
The masculine gender may have been more used in the article, but without prejudice, to make reading easier.
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- Kids’ fear of dentists
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- Your child’s first dental visit