By Susan Braden
If you are a parent, have you had a bad experience taking your young child to the dentist? Such a difficult visit can make any mother or father skeptical about if dentistry appointments are truly necessary at an early age. However, the earlier your child’s dentistry care begins, and the more affordable it may be if you have a discount plan, the easier appointments will be for you and your child later on. Simply follow 3 steps to make your child’s next visit with affordable dental care an enjoyable one.
It is important to start training your child in oral hygiene even before they have teeth. After every meal, clean your baby’s mouth with a soft cloth or towel. This will get your baby used to the feeling of someone cleaning their mouth. Once your child begins growing teeth, continue to set a good example of oral hygiene yourself. This is one of the best ways to train your young child – let them see you brushing frequently so that they know it is both normal and necessary. Then clean your child’s teeth, and make “brushing time” as fun as possible with a special song or game, or offer them a non-food reward afterward. Your example and excitement may even spark their curiosity to try brushing themselves!
Before you make an appointment for your child, stop and think for a second. Your child’s first few dentist visits can be their most memorable. So, before you pick just any dental care office, think about how the dentist’s office you choose will shape your child’s perspective on going to the dentist.
Perhaps the best way you can make visiting the dentist an enjoyable memory is to take them to a pediatric dentist, or “pedodontist,” who offers dental care. These dentists specialize in treating children, and are trained to handle them with more care and concern than a normal dentist might. Even their offices are set up to be kid-friendly, including colored walls and even toys to play with. Such an office environment can give your child a positive outlook on attending the dentist, and they may even look forward to it!
Before you actually take your child to the dentist, you can do some things to familiarize them with what they will encounter. A simple way to do this, in a way that kids like, is to do role play. Have your child be the patient and you the dentist. You can make it simple or as complex as you want. It can be as easy as having them lay in a chair while you brush their teeth. Then switch the roles and allow your child to be the dentist. This will affiliate having fun with going to the dentist in your child’s mind.
Also, you may want to your child some role-playing toys that will allow them to see what they can expect at the dentist. If you let your child bring their favorite toy with them, then they will be more comfortable, and will pay less attention to anything that might worry them.
Once your child has made it through their first affordable appointment, reward them for it. You may want to buy them their favorite candy bar or take them to get ice cream, but since you aim to encourage healthy teeth, a non-food item or activity is usually the best reward. Either way, your child’s impression of a dentist visit should be attached to something they like.
To summarize, there are just 3 easy things that you can do to train your child to enjoy affordable dental care at the dentist. 1) Set the example early on by cleaning their mouth early and by maintaining your own oral hygiene. 2) Choose your child’s first dentist carefully. 3) Finally, use a game and a toy to ease your child into a dentist visit, and reward them if the visit goes well. If you have a young child, be sure to take steps today to start preparing your child to enjoy affordable dental care.