There's all sorts of advice out there about how to talk to children about the dentist. But today, we’re here to tell you what you shouldn't to say!
Visiting the dentist can be pretty intimidating for kids. Although we've designed our office environment here at Smile Town Burnaby to make kids feel as comfortable as possible, it still isn't always easy.
It’s a new environment, with lots of new people, and your child is experiencing many unfamiliar things for the first time. And when children aren't yet accustomed to dental care, having their mouths and teeth examined can feel a little invasive.
To make this experience easier on your child, prepare them ahead of time with an honest, quiet discussion about what to expect.
That being said, there are a few common pitfalls parents experience when embarking on this type of discussion, and we'd like to help you avoid them!
When you talk to your child about the dentist, try to avoid the following:
It may be wise to avoid words like ‘shot’, 'drill’, or ‘needle’, as some children might find them alarming. During the appointment, our team will introduce a special kid-friendly vocabulary to your child to help them get through the scary stuff.
This brings us to our next point. You should also avoid...
Do your best to avoid speculating about what could happen if your child needs a filling or an orthodontic or dental appliance, what the fluoride treatment will taste like, how long the cleaning will take, etc., etc,. Speculation of this sort will only result in unnecessary worrying and fretting.
Giving your child detailed, step-by-step descriptions of the dental cleaning and examination will likely make them try to imagine what will happen, which night cause anxiety ahead of time.
You might also end up being asked questions that could force you to use some of the scary words mentioned above.
So keep it simple. For instance, you can tell your child that during a dental appointment, the dentist will examine their smiles, and count their teeth. That’s it!
Talking about your own negative experiences
Telling your child about your own scary, uncomfortable, or painful dental experiences in an effort to ‘relate’ to his or her worries and fears could serve to make those worries and fears worse.
You can learn more about how to be a good oral health care influence here.
It may seem like a good idea to promise a treat for good behaviour at the dentist’s office, but this may actually increase your child’s apprehension.
If you say, ‘if you’re good and don’t cry, you’ll get something special afterwards,’ your child may start to wonder about why he might want to cry or misbehave during the appointment.