Help your child have a positive experience at the dentist.
Did you know that your child’s early memories of dental appointments can have a lifelong impact on their oral health? Childhood oral health habits and routines, such as brushing twice a day and visiting a dentist every six months, often stick with kids even after they’ve left the nest.
As a parent, you can help safeguard your child’s smile by helping them have a great experience during their routine visits to their pediatric dentist.
Here are our best tips for parents.
Consider choosing a dedicated pediatric practice rather than a general dentist.
A dedicated pediatric dentist and team are pros when it comes to helping kids with dental care. They have additional education, training, and real-world experience in working with children as well as treating oral health issues effectively and gently. While there are many general or family dentists who love kids, pediatric dentists are truly valuable specialists with a passion for kids’ oral health.
If your child has had a poor experience with a general dentist, switching to a pediatric dentist can also really help them feel more comfortable and confident.
Modern pediatric dental care is all about keeping kids happy, safe, and comfortable.
The We Make Kids Smile team prides itself in providing the latest in dental technology and technique. But that’s not all. We go to great lengths to make every child feel happy and safe while they’re in our office. Taking things slowly, developing a trusting relationship, and allowing kids to have some control over what’s happening really turns off the fear switch and helps kids feel comfortable.
Many parents are surprised to find how different our approach to dental care is compared to what they may have experienced in their own childhood. Something as simple as a dental filling is a faster and more effective process today, and most importantly, pain-free.
Book your child’s first appointment as early as their first baby tooth arrives.
Your child’s first visit to the dentist should take place surprisingly early. In fact, by the time their first baby tooth has arrived or they turn 1 year of age, it’s time to book that first appointment. There are two reasons for this recommendation. Firstly, monitoring the development of erupting teeth and practicing early cavity prevention is crucial. Secondly, the sooner your child begins seeing a dentist, the quicker they begin to develop a friendship with their dental care team.
If your child is older and hasn’t yet seen a dentist, don’t worry! It’s never too late for professional dental care. We encourage you to simply book an appointment as soon as you can.
Stick with their dentist’s recommended schedule for checkups and cleanings.
Most kids should see their pediatric dentist every six months, just like adults. These six-month checkups may be just a quick visual exam for babies or, for slightly older kids, a deep cleaning with a hygienist as well. If your child is dealing with some tooth decay or pediatric gum disease, their dentist may recommend more frequent visits, perhaps every three or four months.
These routine checkups and cleanings are incredibly important for cavity prevention and proactive treatment of cavities. The sooner your child’s dentist is able to spot trouble brewing, the sooner action can be taken to stop it.
Talk with your child’s dentist about sedation options if they need help relaxing.
Some kids really benefit from sedation dentistry, including youngsters with special needs or any child who is fearful and anxious. Sedation dentistry is very safe for kids and comes in a few different forms. The most common option is nitrous oxide, which simply helps take the edge off any nervousness a child may be feeling. For cases in which a child needs oral surgery or intensive treatment, stronger sedation in a hospital is also an option.
Let your child’s dentist know ahead of time that you’re interested in pediatric sedation dentistry. You’ll discuss your child’s needs and find the right solution to help them feel as comfortable as possible.
Prepare your child for their appointment using positive, age-appropriate language.
Kids look to parents for guidance, especially when it comes to new situations and environments. Our best advice for parents is to be careful to use only positive language when talking to your child about their upcoming dental appointment. Leave out any trigger words like pain, drill, or shot.
Be aware of accidentally instilling the idea of a dentist being anything to worry about. For example, many parents reassure their children by saying that visiting the dentist isn’t scary. Unless a child has already specifically linked “scary” to the dentist, this reassurance may actually plant the seed that it’s possible a dentist could be scary.
The We Make Kids Smile team is always available to help you prepare your child for their next appointment.
Sometimes parents need some help of their own when it comes to preparing their kids for an upcoming appointment!
If you have any questions or need some guidance on how to help your child have a great experience, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. From helping you fill out forms ahead of time to recommending a dentist-themed children’s book, we’ve got you covered.
You can get in touch with our team or schedule an appointment by calling our Waldorf or Prince Frederick offices. During weekends and non-business hours, you can also send in this online form.