How to Explain A First Dental Visit To Your Child
1) Don’t act like the appointment is a big deal.
Constantly speaking about the appointment or sitting the child down and trying to explain scraping, drilling, cavities, shots, and so forth will not put the child more at ease. Although you may be dreading the appointment or concerned about the details, it doesn’t mean your child is worried. Always avoid making negative comments like, “Oh no, we have to go to the dentist.” Children take cues from their parents and they can sense when you are nervous. Only answer questions as they pop up. If it is a tough question or you don’t know how to answer the child on his/her level say, “That’s a good question, Janie when you go to your visit be sure to ask the dentist! As a dentist, their special job is to talk to all little boys and girls about their teeth.” Usually, the children forget to ask-or if they happen to remember -whew, at least you will be in the capable hands of a pediatric dental office!!
2) Do not act like the dentist is a punishment.
Please do not ever tell your child anything remotely close to, “If you don’t brush your teeth, the dentist is going to give you a shot!” or “Since you haven’t been taking care of your teeth, the dentist is going to pull your tooth!” The biggest pet peeve of any dentist is when parents create dental anxiety.
3) Talk to your child’s dentist without your child around.
If you discover your child needs treatment, it is important for you to feel comfortable and completely understand why and what the dentist is recommending. To avoid your child becoming too curious, it is best to discuss the ins and outs with your dentist without your child present. Ask all of the questions you think of and don’t schedule until you feel comfortable with the diagnosis and treatment recommendations. There are options of sedation if you feel your child may be uncooperative, overly anxious, or could otherwise benefit from sedation. We even offer hospital sedation for large cases or very difficult situations.
Dental Visit Vocabulary
You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. If old enough, your child should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and their staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. The less to-do concerning the visit, the better.
It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle”, “shot”, “pull” or “hurt”. The office makes a practice of using words to convey the same message that is pleasant and non-frightening to the child.
|Don’t say||Do Say|
|Teeth Cleaning||Wash off the Sugar Bugs|
|X-Rays||Pictures of your teeth|
|Shot / Needle||Bubble with Sleepy Juice|
|Filling||Clean out Sugar Bugs|
|Silver Crown||Cap Tooth Jewelry / Silver Hat|
|Yank / Pull / Extract||Wiggle|
|Drug / Medicine||Special Juice / Silly Pill|
|Gas / Nitrous||Candy Air / Special Air|