A disruption to anyone’s routine can be stressful, but this is especially true for young children. Visiting new places, meeting new people and trying new things can be slightly nerve-wracking, especially when they aren’t fully able to articulate what they’re thinking or the anxiety they’re feeling. In many cases, such as when visiting friends, children are in their element. However, in slightly unfamiliar environments such as a hairdressing salon, doctors surgery or dental practice, this can be a little more challenging.
With this in mind, we’ve put together five steps and top tips for keeping kids calm at their next dental appointment.
Develop a good routine
Before your next appointment comes around, it’s important to set a good example for your children by developing a dental routine at home. This should include teaching them the importance of dental hygiene, including why it’s necessary to brush your teeth well, how to brush your teeth without hurting your gums, and what food or drink to avoid for a healthy mouth. If your children see you taking care of your teeth, they’re more likely to do this themselves – and find it much less daunting!
Answer their questions
When it’s time to sit in the dentist chair, many of us are confused as to what is actually happening. What are those shiny metal tools on the tray next to me? What’s the dentist looking for? What happens if there’s something wrong with my teeth? Children are no different! They’re likely to have lots of questions about the process, so be patient and answer them as best as you can. Helping them understand what will happen during the appointment can really put their mind at ease.
Stay calm yourself
If you’re a bundle of nerves at the dentist, the chances are that your children will sense this and believe there’s something to be afraid of. If, however, you’re calm and collected, they probably will be too! Visiting the dentist can be nerve-wracking for people of all ages, so if you’re also nervous, it might be worth discussing your fears with your family members, adopting some breathing exercises in the waiting room, and telling your dentist how you feel.
Keep them occupied
Distractions are one of the simplest yet most effective ways of keeping kids calm during all kinds of situations. Sitting in a quiet waiting room might throw them off a little bit, so consider taking a comforting stuffed toy or a book to keep them occupied while you wait. This will give you a chance to read your book, too!
Offer rewards for good behaviour
If your child behaves well during their appointment, reward them with a small yet exciting treat. Stay away from sugary treats, however, as this will certainly send the wrong message after a trip to the dentist! Giving them the chance to play in the local park or watch their favourite programme are great ways to reward them after a successful dental appointment.
Is it time to book your next dental appointment? Look no further than Riverside Dental Practice. We offer top-quality dentistry to NHS and private patients in Stirling and Stirlingshire, including check-ups, emergency work, dental implants and tooth whitening. For more information about our range of services, get in touch with our friendly team of staff today.