How To Put Your Child At Ease In The Dental Chair

Taking your child to the dentist doesn’t have to be a harrowing experience – for them or for you as a parent. Many times the environment itself can be pretty scary to a child with the sounds of pressurized air, drills and suction. Add the element of an adult with a mask peering into a child’s face and you’re looking at a possible meltdown.

Thankfully pediatric dentistry has come a long way. And not just in overall care or techniques but in the practice of comforting treatment. Even adults can become nervous with the idea of a needle or drill and a child’s active mind is much better at imagining the worst.
Children playing On the floor
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The first step to preparing your child for a trip to the dentist begins at home. Begin my simply having a conversation about the dentist, explain what may happen, but keep it simple. If possible, try to indicate that the experience might even be fun as the dentist will count their teeth and take cool pictures. Even more effective would be to read books to your child about trips to the dentist and even perhaps asking them to draw a picture of their own mouth or make up their very own story about their first trip to the dentist. Putting the child in control helps alleviate any worries or fears they may be having.

Not all dentists are alike, and family dental care means that each dentist has received specialized training in caring for children’s teeth from infancy to teenage years. These additional skills aid in making the child’s experience as painless and enjoyable as possible.

A dentist’s chair-side manner can make the biggest difference in putting your child at ease in the dental chair. Does he or she allow you to sit in during the visit? Are there fun drawings on the walls? Most pediatric dentists know that making a child feel as comfortable as possible, whilst making the visit fun will aid them in a more relaxing experience. Some may wear fun face masks with children’s illustrations or invite the child to partake in some of the process, showing them the tools used while explaining how they will be used.

Praising the child once they are in the chair and undergoing treatment helps the child know that they are not in the chair as punishment. Especially when the child is being exceptionally calm, a dentist will know to praise them for good behavior. You as a parent can continue this praise with your own words of encouragement. The key is let your child know that the dentist is a safe place and that they can trust this person behind the mask. A soothing voice from the dentists never hurts either.

The next time you find yourself dreading the thought of taking your child to the dentist, just remember these few simple steps. And also do your research and find the best family dentist in your area. Read reviews of other patients and perhaps even make a preliminary appointment if possible.

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Wendy Kellison
About the Author:

A freelance writer, Wendy Kellison learned about proper pediatric dental care from Dr. Jack McDowell, a dentist in Gladstone, OR.

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