All parents want their child's dental appointments to be a success, as this will set them up for positive dental experiences in later life and help them avoid dental fear. Luckily, there are a few things you can do as a parent to help your child have a good experience, as explained below.
Choose The Right Dental Clinic
If you want a child's dentist visit to be a success, choosing the right dental clinic is an essential step. Firstly, you should choose a clinic that has a dedicated paediatric dentist — as the Dental Board of Australia explains, there are specific qualifications in paediatric dentistry that dentists can hold. You should also choose a dental clinic that feels bright and reassuring for children — think colourful posters and decorations, toys in the waiting room and friendly receptionists. See if you can speak to the dentists, and choose one who knows how to interact with children and who can explain things to them at their own level.
Pick The Right Appointment Time
Choosing an effective appointment time is a simple way to make your child's dentist appointment a success. This is especially true if they fear dentist appointments, as an early appointment will stop them from spending all day worrying. Generally, try to book an early morning appointment — before school, if possible, to get it out of the way and give your kids a distraction afterwards. A weekend appointment might be a good idea if you're planning a fun treat for after. After your appointment, speak to the receptionist to make your next appointment. WebMD suggests that children should see a dentist every six months, and booking early will help you get your first choice of appointment time.
Work On Your Own Attitude
Your own attitude to dentist appointments will have a big impact on your child's own experiences of dentistry, so try to stay positive, model good oral hygiene and act as if appointments are simply a natural, essential part of healthcare. Let your children see the dentist examine you while you remain calm and positive, as this will show them how to behave in this situation. If you have problems with dental fear, try a couple of appointments on your own first to ease your fears, and try some of the dental fear strategies set out by the NHS, such as listening to music, talking to your dentist or taking a friend.
If you spend some time choosing a dental clinic, booking an appointment at a sensible time and modelling great behaviour at the dentist, you can help your child to have a successful dentist appointment.