At Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry we want you and your child to have a successful office visit from start to finish. Like most successful ventures, some preparation and planning can assist. Our 7 tips are adapted from a longer blog at Mouth Healthy, which is also a good read especially in the details of age appropriate dental habits.
Its always best if you can plan your next office visit while checking out of one. Dr. Mark Dawoud suggests bringing a planner or electronic calendar with you to each office visit, so scheduling becomes a breeze. The article we reference has good advice about scheduling a back-to-school appointment by using your child’s spring report card as a reminder.
Encourage Age-Appropriate Dental Habits at Home
The best office checkup is cavity-free and limited to the basics mouth inspection, cleaning, and maybe some radiographs. These easy visits happen when you encourage your child to brush twice a day for two minutes and to floss once a day. A fun-looking toothbrush can be encouraging for some small children. All benefit from a regular schedule and planned bed-time. The Mouth Healthy article excels in its advice for kids 6 and under, ages 7-12, and 12-18, so take a look for specifics.
Timing Is Everything
Dr. Frank Sierra suggests that you schedule appointments at the optimum time for your child. That will be different for each individual. For young children, who may have a naptime, it is helpful to avoid that period, especially if they are always cranky after waking up.
Its also good to consider the older child who may be exhausted after a full day at school. You can always make them a part of the decision on when best to schedule their appointment.
Make One Child a Model
This might be the greatest advice yet… besides brushing of course. “If you’ve scheduled back-to-back appointments for your children, there’s a simple way to decide who goes first: Choose the child who’s had the most positive experiences at the dentist.” Basically the article suggests that the behavior of subsequent children at the dentist may be based on the prior experiences of their siblings. Makes sense …
A Hungry Child Is Not a Happy Patient
We love the word “hangry.” Know that one yet? It’s basically hungry and angry. The two go hand in hand, so feed your child a light meal before the appointment. Do be sure to have them brush afterwards.
Tip number 6 and 7 are pretty much about you, so read on.
Leave Your Anxiety at the Door
Even if you have some fear of the dentist, be sure to model calmness – your child will pick up on your anxiety. The article has some good advice about encouraging your child to ask questions of your dentist and their team about any procedures that cause them anxiety. “Will it hurt?”
Keep Cool If Your Child Won’t Cooperate
Last but not least, this tip directly effects the success of the visit too. Keep cool if your child won’t cooperate. Don’t give up and cut the visit short. Assess the situation. Are they afraid? Can your dentist help to break the procedure down into small, successful steps?
Our dental team likes to involve you and your child in each visit, so this helps in the cooperation area. Your child becomes directly involved in the success of each visit and in the success of their dental health.
If you like these 7 tips, please share with friends and family, and share on social media for others. Thanks.