Anxiety about dental procedures, expectations of pain, and negative associations with someone touching their teeth are just a few reasons children grow weary of seeing a dental professional. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. By working with children early, parents can prepare them for the kind of dental care that leads to more ideal growth guidance, healthier, more functional smiles, and more developed airways.
Creating Better Associations
Having negative associations with dentists, orthodontists, and other doctors is common for people of all ages. But, by establishing healthy, positive perceptions early, parents can help save their children from future anxiety and set the stage for more positive experiences.
So, what can parents do now to begin preparing children for these kinds of doctor visits?
- Start taking children to the dentist early
- Role model good oral hygiene
- Avoid using words like “hurt” or “pain” when talking about the dentist
- Avoid sharing any negative dental experiences
- Schedule and keep regular dental visits
Sooner Rather Than Later
By implementing the five practices outlined here, you can help educate your child early about the functional and cosmetic benefits of dental care. And, you can save them from the discomfort and hurt of trying to fix issues later on in life.
Jumping on alignment problems, oral posture, and bad habits early doesn’t just save them from pain and problems later, it’s also easier. Young people’s development track is more malleable while teeth are still growing in and habits aren’t fully formed.
Teaching children the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums can be a great starting point for encouraging better dental visits. The healthier a child’s teeth are, the smaller chance they’ll encounter cavities or invasive treatments. Creating a solid regiment of regular teeth brushing, flossing, and dental visits will also help diminish anxieties through repetition and their level of comfort with their teeth.
Lead the Way to Help Prepare Children for the Dentist
A good role model can have a huge impact on children, including their relationship to dentists. Parents can lead the way by practicing good dental hygiene themselves, scheduling regular dental visits for everyone in the family, and by avoiding negative words like “hurt” or “pain” when talking about the dentist. Using these words can create a negative connotation and influence their imagination to conjure negative experiences before they ever happen.
Schedule a Consultation
For more information, schedule a consultation with Dr. Schick by calling our office at 403-407-5730