How to Prepare Your Child for the Dentist
My son has been to the dentist twice now and hasn’t had a single problem with the entire process. My daughter is scheduled for her first appointment next week and I’m terrified. I’m convinced she’s going to be one of those kids who is taken to the back room (away from all of the other on-edge patients) to get her cleaning done because she’s likely not going to be a fan of the whole situation.
I take my kids to the most adorable pediatric dentist, with bright colors, movies on the ceiling to watch, and a token at the end for a prize in the machine. It’s seriously kid-friendly and inviting for everyone in the family. Basically, my daughter is set up for success.
This isn’t my first time around, so luckily I know a little bit of what to expect. For her first time, the hygienist will show my daughter the tools she will use and let her feel on her fingers what some of them do! She will get to choose a movie to watch and will get to wear headphones while her teeth get cleaned. And I plan on being by her side the entire time making all of these things sound as exciting as possible!
Leading up to this appointment, every time we brush teeth, I remind her that soon she’s going to the dentist and a nice friend is going to brush her teeth with a special toothbrush. Talking about it is especially important with kids like my daughter who don’t appreciate surprises and are stubborn enough that they legit wont do something if they don’t want to.
Bribery is also great in this situation! There are 4 dispensers that we'll walk past on the way to her assigned chair, so I’m hoping that when she sees all the toys and prizes in there it will be good ammunition to persuade her to be on her best, compliant behavior. If not, I’m not above a bit more bribery to get the job done!
On an ideal day, her teeth get brushed when we’re getting ready for the day and in the tub or shortly after the tub before bedtime. Occasionally, we miss one or both of these brushing sessions, but for the most part, we do really well at sticking to these routines. Her teeth are very close together, so flossing is somewhat regular around here too-- simply to get food out! I’m really hoping that because I’m regularly cleaning inside her mouth, she’ll be accustomed to such a thing and wont feel so violated when the hygienist begins to do so.
Who knows, maybe she’ll be on her best behavior and won’t be put out by the things being done to her. But for now, I’m planning for the worst and my expectations are low as can be! I'm prepared for what I think is going to happen and I'm doing my best to prepare her for what to expect!