Going to the dentist can be a scary experience for your child — especially when it’s time to fill their first cavity.
Even if you’re diligent about keeping your whole family’s oral health up to par, every parent will likely face a time when their child has to get a filling. It might not be an easy experience, but there are ways to prepare for the dreaded dentist visit and help your child conquer their fears.
If you can keep your cool and guide your child through the process, they’ll soon be leaving the dentist’s office to show off their brand new smile. Here are five tips to prepare your child for the dentist.
1. Stay Calm
Your child is sensitive to how you’re feeling — so if you start to show signs of anxiety, they’re likely to pick up on it too.
Stay calm and composed. Even if you’re not feeling calm, ensure your body language is relaxed and keep all dentist-related talk to a minimum.
2. Be Clear About Expectations
It’s important to stay open and honest with your child. Answer any questions that they have to help them understand what they can expect. Your dentist can also help break down the procedure in a way that your child can understand.
3. Keep Your Language Kid-Friendly
While it’s important to be honest with your child, be sure to use kid-friendly language. Avoid negative language about shots, drills, or pain — this can create anxiety or fear.
For example, instead of saying “needle,” you can talk about how they might feel a poke or prick in their mouth. Some parents even avoid using the word “cavity,” and opt for something like “sugar spot” instead.
4. Keep Them Comfortable
On the day of the filling, keep your child as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
For example, you can let them bring a comfort item (like a stuffed animal) and wear cozy clothing. You can also bring toys or a book to keep their mind off the procedure.
5. Talk About Your Own Experience
Cavities are one of the most common issues with oral health — for kids and adults alike.
Walk through this with your child. You can share your own experiences at the dentist and tell them about your own cavity fillings, examinations, or other procedures. They should know that while cavities aren’t ideal, they’re common and easy for a dentist to fix.
Your Child’s First Cavity: Preparing For the Pediatric Dentist
At the end of the day, avoiding cavities is the ideal first line of defense against fillings. But even with good oral health habits like brushing and flossing daily, you’re likely to encounter a cavity or two.
The important thing is to make sure that your child’s first big procedure at the dentist is a positive experience. If they feel good about their time at the dentist, they’re more likely to take proper care of their teeth and gum health throughout the rest of their life.
Are you looking for the right dentist for your child’s first visit? Take a look at our directory to find the perfect pediatric dentist near you.