How to make your child’s first visit to the dentist enjoyable
During the first visit to the dentist, the child develops an idea that lasts for many years. If the kindergartener experiences strong negative emotions, fear, then these memories will interfere with him in the future, preventing him from seeking treatment in time.
The first impression is influenced not only by the doctor’s behavior and the environment during the appointment, but also by the behavior of the parents. It is very important to prepare the baby mentally, and instill in him the correct attitude towards the need for treatment.
Influence of the environment on children’s perception
Young children form their attitude to the world around them and events through the prism of parental opinion. When faced with something unfamiliar, they often copy parental reactions or build their behavior with an eye to mom or dad.
This can be noticed when the kindergartner falls or bruises himself: if he sees that his mother was scared, then he himself may start crying, even if the pain is mild. The same reaction happens if the little one wants to be pitied.
In the event that the pain is really strong or prolonged, it will be difficult for the little one to calm down. The kid still cannot control himself to the same extent, and often feels the impact more sharply than the adult. But even in this case, one should not panic, the parent should show concern and participation, but at the same time remain calm and confident so as not to scare the baby, who is already feeling bad.
It is worth remembering that a new environment and a sense of the unknown can in themselves cause intense fear, especially in impressionable children. They may be afraid that it will hurt or the doctor will hold it down. It will become even worse for the baby if, in such a situation, he observes a sad and nervous mother. Therefore, it is necessary to behave as usual, as far as possible to distract the offspring, talk to him, answering the questions that arise in an accessible way.
What to do with acute pain
The toddler who is in pain is already terrified and may still resist treatment. It is important to convince him that everything the doctor does is to make it easier for him. You can try to switch the baby’s attention, this will help ease the discomfort a little.
If a kindergarten or primary school student does not have pain, but an examination or any procedures are still necessary, then it can be even more difficult to persuade him. It is advisable that a relative who really does not feel fear of dentists, and whom the baby trusts, does this.
In this case, you only need to tell the truth. Children need to know where they are being taken and what they will do. You cannot lure them out of the apartment under the pretext of visiting the zoo, and then bring them to the hospital – fear, combined with disappointed expectations, is more likely to lead to hysteria.
But you shouldn’t attach too much importance to procedures. You can try to designate going to the doctor as one of the plans for the day, after which something good awaits the family. But in this case, the promise must be fulfilled. A visit to the dentist should feel like a mundane event, and the doctor should feel like a friendly person who only wants to help.
When is the best time to visit a pediatric dentist?
It is best to plan the time of the first trip to the doctor in the morning, when the baby slept well, had breakfast and is in a calm mood. It is undesirable to get out of the usual regime. If it provides for a daytime sleep, then this time is not suitable for visiting the hospital – the baby will be sleepy, capricious. If the visit is shifted to the evening, chances are high that the child will be nervous during the day. Before leaving the house, it is advisable to take him to the toilet again.
You don’t need to come to the clinic very early. The optimal waiting time for an appointment is 10 minutes. The child will have time to get used to it a little and will not get bored. If the baby does not walk well or does not like shoe covers, you need to take care of replacement shoes.
In the departments intended for children, there is usually a supply of books and toys for toddlers, but you can also take one favorite toy or a familiar book with you, so he will feel calmer.
It is very important to find a good doctor with whom you can establish contact not only for the child, but also for the parents. Only the concerted actions of adults will help to achieve the best result. Feeling that mom and dad trust the doctor, the baby will not be afraid of him. A person carries many childhood impressions with him all his life, and if he does not consider going to the dentist as something terrible, then in adulthood he will carefully monitor the health of his teeth and not miss scheduled examinations.
Tips for parents
- 1You don’t need to start tuning your baby up a lot in advance. One or two days is enough so that the preschooler does not have time to wind himself up or pick up horror stories from his friends.
- 2Don’t cheat by answering questions about whether it will hurt or how long the treatment or examination will take. If some painful procedures are expected, then this also needs to be said directly: what will be unpleasant, and so that the baby does not get scared, compare it with something that he has already experienced and endured without problems.
- 3It is necessary to focus on the benefits and positive aspects, conveying this taking into account age characteristics and character. It is undesirable to use the expressions “do not be afraid”, “will have to endure.” This just makes you think that the doctor will be scared and painful.
- 4You can tell the kid that everyone has been to the dentist at least once in their life, and this is not unusual.
- 5There is no need to promise any special reward after visiting the clinic, this will add unnecessary weight to the event in children’s perception, and make you think that something very difficult is ahead.
- 6There is no need to provide the story with unnecessary details, especially if the treatment tactics need to be changed during the appointment. Experienced doctors know how to explain the essence of the procedure to children.
- 7When talking, doctors should be called by name and patronymic.
Young children most often cannot understand the need to go to the doctor, even if they are worried about something. Stories that both parents and other relatives went to the dentists can help, a promise that they will do the same to him as everyone else. If one of the familiar children has already gone to the dentist, you can recall this.
A game of doctor will help to save the kid from the fear of the unknown. The role of the doctor is first assumed by the parent, conducting the “examination”. At this time, you can evaluate how a son or daughter manages to sit in a chair, whether he can keep his mouth open for several minutes. Later, the children themselves can treat the toy. The way the kids behave at the same time will help to understand whether the fear has passed, and whether they understood everything correctly.
Older children, who are already able to realize long-term prospects, need to be explained how important it is to monitor their dental health, and that this is impossible without regular visits to the dentist. It must be said that the goal of a doctor is to prevent disease, to make teeth stronger and healthier, and if you follow all his advice, then the teeth will not need to be drilled or pulled out.
You can also talk about your positive experience of visiting the doctor, when all the fears were in vain, and the treatment brought only relief. The main thing is not to compose. If a parent is only familiar with dentists from the bad side (which is not uncommon in Soviet times or in rural areas), then it is advisable to talk about another case when the fears were not justified. And it should be remembered that it is undesirable for children to talk about their fear of dentistry, because sooner or later you will have to lead the baby to the dentist.
For young children who have never been to the dentist or, on the contrary, who have negative experience, it is advisable to limit themselves to a consultation on the first visit. The kid will be able to see the hospital from the inside, get acquainted with the doctor. A doctor who has worked with children for a long time knows how to find contact and make friends with a little patient.
Also, during the examination, the doctor will understand how the little patient is afraid of him, how he behaves in a new situation.
During the conversation, the parent will be able to obtain the necessary information on how to prepare for therapy and new methods of treatment. You also need to tell in detail what was the reason for the appeal, and what difficulties arose during treatment in the past. This will help the doctor choose the most appropriate behavior strategy.
After that, the time of the next visit is appointed, when it will be possible to begin to eliminate dental problems. Children are also made aware that their opinions are being considered and listened to.
Many private clinics have special stickers or other small memorabilia that are given to children – this creates pleasant associations in the memory of patients.