Preparing Your Child For The Dentist
Going to the dentist can be a daunting experience for many adults. For children, an irrational and unwarranted fear of going to the dentist can generate a lot of emotional turmoil and even stop them from getting the dental care they need.
Preparing children for a trip to the dentist, starts with understanding the challenges and adopting strategies that help reduce anxiety.
As part of the new generation of dentistry, our team is continually surprised that so many people have had such bad experiences at the dentist. It is for this reason that we decided that it was up to the newer generation of dentists to make visiting a dental surgery non-threatening and kind of fun.
We base our treatment of children on the philosophy that each child has their own pace at which they would like to explore and discover the surgery and learn to trust the dentist.
It is true that not all dentists want to see children as patients. Most view them as a waste of time, too tiring and not productive enough. We like having children as patients. It is fun and challenging, and also very rewarding.
We believe in trying to see children early, initially at 2-3 years of age just with Mum or Dad. It is beneficial for them to come in to watch and play in the surgery, and maybe go for a ride in the chair.
At this stage, we also like to inform Mum and Dad about appropriate fluoride use and preventative measures at an early age. Hopefully, by about 4 years of age, we are able to actually have a good look around and diagnose any issues.
Often it is easier to treat children when they are 4 to 5 years old, rather than 7 to 10.
I have carried out talks in kindergartens and schools in and around Sydney and in London. The reason for this is just so that the children can meet a dentist in their own surroundings, where they are comfortable, before tackling the dental surgery.
As a parent myself it is important to me to teach other parents that dentistry can be fun and non-threatening and that your fears may be inadvertently passed on to your children, even before they experience a visit to the dentist themselves.
There are a number of websites you can look at with your children, that have games and colouring in charts and cartoons and songs about visiting the dentist. We have found these to be very good in helping children to become enthusiastic about taking care of their teeth and visiting the dentist.