Preparing Your Child for a Dental Visit: What to Say and Not to Say

It may or may not be your child’s first trip to the dentist but you know it is going to be a challenging day. After all, you may have the same fear of being in the dental chair yourself. Quite figuratively and literally, you know the drill. However, you are also aware of the importance of these dental visits especially for the little one’s fragile teeth, so it’s time to keep those fears wrapped up and get your child prepped. Here are some things to tell and not to tell your child when doing the dental pep talk.

**What to say:**

* It’s not an option. Be friendly but firm when telling your child that dental visit is a necessity and not a choice because really, you wouldn’t want them to think otherwise. Remember that you will be doing this regularly so better instill this good habit from the start. 

* The importance of this visit. Tell your child how the dentist keeps teeth clean and strong. Is your child concerned about having a beautiful smile or maybe a set of strong teeth that enables him or her to eat well? Like any good old advertising, telling the benefits sells always. 

* Your enthusiasm. Children do not usually have an idea that a dental visit is scary until parents start a “heart-to-heart” talk that implies it is. So, share enthusiasm instead or just stay relaxed. Nowadays, it is not difficult to find an adorable dental office with friendly staff. At Smiles For Kids, we call it taking kids on an adventure! 

**What not to say:**

* Everything will be fine. Keep a positive attitude but don’t make promises you may not be able to keep as it can be more disastrous. You never know if the child is going to need treatment that can cause pain or anxiety. When this happens, your child might lose trust in you and the dentist.

* Your own experiences. Parents naturally want to share how they did well or conquered their own dental fears thinking this will help their child feel better. Avoid taking this route though because you might not be aware that your “triumph” tales are riddled with your past anxieties too. Taking your little ones to your own dental visits may do more harm than good because adult cleanings often involve a long time, scary sharp instruments, and often some bleeding. This is certainly not how you want your little one feel about cleanings! 

* Use the dentist as threat or punishment. We all love to have a scapegoat in making sure our children behave well. Using a dental visit as a threat however will most definitely scare your child, but probably not to do what you would like them to do! Instead it will make your little one afraid to see a dentist and make every visit dreaded by not just your child but also you!

Try to keep the talk short. Don’t think that giving your child more information can lessen their fear because the opposite happens most of the time. Allow our team to answer if your child has questions as we are well trained to do that. Every day our job is to have your child succeed in our office, to have them walk out of Smiles For Kids with a happy and healthy smile on his or her little face. Always choose a dentist that caters especially to kids. Pediatric dentists took extra years of training to handle kids’ dental and emotional concerns, including anxiety. Furthermore, our teams are well trained to make kids happy and our clinics are designed to make children feel at ease during treatment.