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How to Ensure Your Child Has a Positive Dental Visit

How to Ensure Your Child Has a Positive Dental Visit

While the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have dental exams every six months, putting that plan into action can be a challenge if your child is wary or anxious about visiting the dentist. Though you may not succeed in making it their favorite activity, you can take several steps to make their dental visit a more positive experience so they can get the benefits of professional oral care.

You can position your child for a positive experience by scheduling their visit with a pediatric dental professional. Pediatric dentist Staci Brunell, DMD, and our staff at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, New York, are experts in providing caring compassionate dental services to children of all ages. Whether your child needs a first visit, routine cleaning, or more complex treatment, our professional staff are experts at helping children feel comfortable and confident in our office.

Follow these steps to reduce the stress and anxiety your child may have about their dental visit.

Schedule during your child’s best time of day

You know your child’s schedule better than anyone, so it’s important to arrange their dental visit when they’re typically at their best. Many young children do well with early morning visits because it ensures that they’re rested and alert. 

However, if your child isn’t a morning person, schedule a time when they’re less likely to be fussy, such as after a nap. Avoid taking children to the dentist immediately after a full day of school. While this may be convenient, it can be difficult for a child to cooperate if they’ve had a bad day or are simply overtired from school.

Prepare your child for what to expect

Help your child understand what to expect during their dental visit with age-appropriate messages. Don’t put this off until the last minute. Introducing the concept of dental care well before their visit will help your child accept a visit to the dentist as a natural thing to do. 

Here are ways to help your child prepare for their dental visit:

Remain calm if your child doesn’t cooperate

As experts in pediatric dentistry, our staff has seen it all when it comes to children who are reluctant to receive oral care. If your child acts out and refuses to cooperate, we’ll achieve the best results if you work together with us as a team. 

You’ll be in the exam room with us during your child’s entire visit. If your child becomes upset, you can hold a younger child in your lap or sit beside an older child and hold their hand for reassurance.

Your child will pick up on your reaction, so it’s important to remain calm. Ignore the urge to leave with your child before the visit is complete. Doing so will only make their next visit more difficult for you and them. 

Use positive reinforcement

At the end of the visit, make sure your child knows that you’re proud they’re taking care of their teeth. Offer age-appropriate positive reinforcement about their behavior and cooperation. 

Consider establishing a dental visit ritual or post-visit reward so they associate going to the dentist with a positive experience. Whether it’s a visit to the toy store, a stop at the park, or an after-visit snack, tie your child’s dental visit to something they enjoy doing.

Follow up on good oral care

Part of your child’s dental visit includes instruction on proper brushing and oral care. Following our instructions can reduce their risk of cavities and the need for restorative oral treatments. 

Scheduling appointments every six months helps stop oral health issues before they begin. It also allows less time for plaque to build up between visits, which can make your child’s dental cleaning easier and their visits less stressful. 

Find out more about ways to help your child establish a foundation of good oral care with positive dental visits. Contact our office to arrange a consultation.

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