Nobody loves the dentist. Most people avoid visiting the dentist as long as humanly possible. But despite our resistance, it’s an absolute necessity for all of us. And most of the time, it’s nowhere nearly as bad as you imagined it would be anyway! But of course, for children, it might not be as easy to rationalize. So what do you do when your child hates the dentist and refuses to go? If all of this sounds a little too familiar, here are some top tips you can try!
Start them early
According to experts from terrigalbeachdental.com.au, the earlier you start taking them to the dentist, the easier they will get used to it. Rather than waiting for them to need a dentist‘s appointment, take them with you to your appointments so that they can familiarise themselves with the setting. Children are even as young as one can benefit from this as they can slowly acclimatize and get used to the procedure. So when your children are young, take them to all your appointments.
Of course, you may wish to take someone else with you as well so that they can entertain or look after your child whilst you get your appointment done. And if you know that you’re in for a bit of a tough or lengthy procedure, maybe leave them at home on that occasion. But generally speaking, the earlier you start getting them used to the dentist, the easier it will be to get them to their own appointments.
Choose the dentist who is specialized in children’s dentistry
You wouldn’t send your child to swimming lessons or rugby lessons for adults. So why would you send them to a dentist for adults? Choosing a dentist that has plenty of experience working with children will ensure that they have everything they need to make your child as comfortable as possible. From an inviting and child-friendly waiting room to gentle mannerisms, a good kids dentist will be well-versed in making children feel comfortable and will have all the tools they need to make the process as stress-free as possible for them (and you).
Pick a local dentist
If your child hates going to the dentist, then you need to keep the journey to the dentist as short as possible. The longer they have in the car to worry about it, the harder it will be to get them through the doors. Eliminate this but picking a local dentist. That way, it doesn’t have to be a big event that takes up a big chunk of your day, it can be just a short and swift trip that’s over before they know it.
So if you’re based on the Central Coast, pick a dentist or orthodontist on the Central Coast. If you’re based in Wollongong, pick a dentist in Wollongong!
Normalize the process
Going to the dentist seems a lot scarier when you built it up in your mind to be a huge out-of-the-ordinary event. Help your child to get used to the idea by talking about it regularly and casually. Reference your own experiences and drop it into conversation casually. Help them to understand that it’s just a part of life and is nothing to be afraid of.
Don’t be afraid to bribe!
Whilst we’re sure some child psychologists will disagree with the use of the word ‘bribe’ here, it can’t hurt to offer a reward or little treat for being brave and going to the dentist. Whether it’s going to the cinema to see the latest superhero movie or heading to the beach as a family, try and give them something to look forward to after their appointment.
Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be stressful for you or your children at all. The key, in general, is to make the whole experience look as routine as possible. Talk about it often, keep regular appointments and remember to choose someone local who has plenty of experience treating children.