School holidays are almost here again, and what better time to book your kids in for their dental visit! Be it their first ever dental appointment or a routine 6-monthly checkup, remember to make it a positive and a fuss-free one.
1. Don’t let your own fear show! If you had a bad experience at a dentist’s as a child don’t let it transfer to your own children.
2. Start early – ideally as soon as the first tooth is visible in the mouth and 2 years of age at the latest. This gives them a Dental ‘home’, gets them into a routine and accustomed to the surroundings.
3. Watch your words – limit detail and never use words like ‘hurt’, ‘shot’, ‘painful’. Use positive reinforcement instead – ‘clean’, ‘strong’, ‘healthy’ etc. make the visit seem fun rather than scary.
4. Prepare for some fussing – it’s normal for many kids to be apprehensive of a stranger looking into their mouths, cry or wiggle. Stay calm and follow the dentist’s instructions. For a first visit the child may sit in your lap in dental or normal chair or you may sit close by and hold their hand.
5. Schedule the appointment for early morning – kids are rested, energized and tend to comply and behave better rather than at the end of the day when tired. Also this way you have the rest of the day to relax rather than thinking and worrying about the visit.
6. Positive reinforcement – praise your child (even if it’s for trying while they struggle through their first appointment). Reward good behavior (and the dentist will usually do this too) with a small present/reward (e.g. a small toy, balloon, sticker, new toothbrush). Remember not to reward with a sweet treat so as not to defeat the purpose of the dental visit!
7. Emphasize importance of good oral hygiene and eating habits. Teach your child that brushing teeth, eating healthy and seeing a dentist regularly is a necessity, not a choice. Getting into good habits early will prevent difficult visits and treatment in the future, so kids hopefully are only ever coming in for regular checkups and cleans.
Call us on 9531 6387 for an appointment and check with Medicare if you may be eligible for bulk-billing for your child.