Friday, 7 November 2014

Punched in the Teeth by Love

It seems somehow fitting that in the week following Halloween, I am writing about taking your kids to the dentist.  Molly and Jack went for their first dental appointment over a month ago, but my trip to the dentist this week, following the Tootsie Roll incident, reminded me.

toddlers in dentist chair

10 tips to help make your trips the dentist a little less painful!

1. Talk about it ahead of time.  Tell them about what will happen so you can manage their expectations.  Call your dentist, they may also have tips.

2. Let them pick out their own tooth brushes to help motivate them to brush (Jack has a Dora toothbrush and Molly has a Cinderella one) - Confession of the day They will not always be motivated to brush their teeth- Molly had a huge tantrum this morning because I made her brush her teeth (i.e. put her in a head lock and brushed her teeth myself while she cried about what a mean mommy I am).

3. Read stories about going to the dentist to manage expectations, I have been told that Dora the Explorer, Show Me Your Smile is a great book to help them mentally prepare for the trip.

4. Play dentist at home.  That way they can practice ahead of time and understand that they need to hold their mouth open for more than the three seconds they do at the Doctors when they say Ahh.

5. Bring a support team, as always I am a huge fan of the adults outnumbering the children in new and uncontrolled environments. At the very least they can take photos when things go sideways.

6. Be patient and gentle.  Nothing scares a child faster then pinning them to a dental chair and forcing them to stay completely still. Jack wanted to sit in my lap on the dental chair for part of the visit, so we just went with it.

7. Let them ask questions and have your dentist show them how things work.

8. Make it short and sweet.  And even if it is not a success repeat the experience in six months.  The more exposure they have the easier it will be the next time.

9. Reward them for a job well done with a special treat (a lot of dentists may already have sticker books and prizes for kids).

10. Schedule the trip for their best behaved time of day.  Our hygienist said that kids and mornings usually work best.

To read some basics on early tooth care click here

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1 comment:

  1. Those are great tips on how to orient your kids on their first dental visit, so we can avoid unwanted fuss and tantrums. Thank you for sharing this with us, Sarabeth. I hope this would be of use to other parents who are having the same problems with their children. Have a great day!

    Freddie Gray @ Ballantyne Center For Dentistry