Dental appointments can be nerve-wracking for kids, especially when office are filled with unfamiliar people and equipment. Fortunately, by making a few simple changes, you might be able to improve your little one's dental health and their attitude about oral care. Here are three ways to make dental care less intimidating for your children.
Start Early & Go Often
Pediatricians and dentists alike agree that the best time to start taking your child to the dentist is as soon as they develop teeth. During these well-checks, dentists look for signs of trouble like early decay, crowding or calcification and then talk with parents to answer questions about early care.
After your child's initial exam around the age of one, they can skip checkups until the age of two as long as their teeth are being brushed and they aren't going to bed with a bottle. After that age, kids should be visiting the dentist at least every six months for routine checkups and teeth cleanings.
In addition to helping your little one to fend off tooth decay, frequent exams also help kids to build relationships with dentists and their team. By visiting often, they will start to feel more comfortable during professional dental checkups, so professional care seems like second nature.
If you have an especially anxious child, start bringing them along to your dental appointments long before you bring them in for their own exams. Since kids typically gravitate towards their parents interests during their childhood, seeing that you care about your teeth might encourage your child to do the same.
Find a Family Friendly Dentist
Unfortunately, all the dental visits in the world won't calm a child if their experiences at the dentist aren't enjoyable. To make dental care relaxing and fun for your child, screen dentists carefully to look for a professional who is good with kids.
In addition to making sure dentists accept pediatric patients, talk with potential dental offices about amenities for kids, such as children's play areas, kid's magazines, and small toys for a cavity free experience. Try to visit the practice in person before you bring your kids to see if other families use the practice.
Check with the practice to make sure they offer dental services your kids would likely need, such as sealants, mouth guards, and orthodontic care. Although it might take a little work, looking for a dentist who has a natural rapport with children could make all the difference in the world for your little one.
Download Dental Games
Kids these days naturally connect with technology, which is why it might be worth it to download a dental game or two. To make dental care more interesting and attractive to kids, many dentists, community outreach programs, and even toothpaste manufacturers offer complimentary applications that parents can add to their smartphone or tablet.
For instance, Colgate offers a free game where kids can protect teeth from germ-laden attackers, helping kids to understand the underlying nature of dental decay. When you look for games, pay attention to what they are trying to teach kids, and whether or not the information would be useful. Also, pay attention to the age rating so you know whether or not it would interest your child.
Although helping your child to focus on dentistry from an early age can seem hard, it makes things much easier later. In addition to helping kids to avoid tooth decay, you might also help them to keep their teeth white and comfortable, improving their self-confidence.
Stop by the office of Lawrence J Larsen DDS to see why so many of our patients are return customers. With a warm, caring environment and a focus on upholding the highest standards of dental care, we make bringing your kids to the dentist a breeze.