Parents know how much their little ones love to mimic their actions. Whether it’s pretending to make supper, treating their stuffed animals like children, hammering away at their “car,” or repeating a not-so-nice word, our little heroes are definitely keeping an eye on us.
That’s why it is important for us as parents to be aware of our behaviors—even when it comes to seeing the dentist. If you get anxious about paying your dentist a visit, chances are your little one is also picking up on your anxiety, and even picking up some dental-phobia of their own.
There’s no reason to be nervous when you visit us at Little Heroes Dentistry. Our dentists and orthodontists are fun, kind, and gentle. Next time you visit us, consider these following tips to help you avoid passing your dental-phobia on to your kids.
It’s recommended that children visit the dentist within six months of getting their first tooth and definitely no later than their first birthday. Starting at such a young age will help them to develop a sense of trust and routine.
If you wait too long to take your child to the dentist, they may start hearing some “horror stories” from older siblings or other children they talk to, which can lead to them becoming fearful. Don’t let this happen. Start young and they’ll become comfortable with visiting the dentist.
Most dentists will suggest that your small child accompany you into the exam room while you get your checkup. This can be a great idea if you don’t mind dentist visits. But if you’re the anxious type, bringing in your little hero with you can lead to a major backfire.
You don’t want your child picking up on your negative vibes, so if you aren’t comfortable at the dental office, ask a calm and collected aunt, uncle, or close family friend to see if they would be willing to let your child watch them at the dentist. If this isn’t doable, schedule your appointment and your child’s on off days so that they won’t see you being anxious prior to their own visit.
If your child shows some anxiety about seeing the dentist, then talk about it. Let them know there is nothing to be ashamed about and try to alleviate their worries as much as you can. Children really appreciate being allowed to talk about their concerns, so resist telling them they have no reason to worry.
Also, make sure to avoid using words that could scare them (i.e. shots, drilling, filling, etc.). It’s a good idea to also avoid saying it won’t hurt, as they might not be aware that it can hurt in the first place. Avoid talking about your own negative experiences and instead just give them a simple explanation of what the dentist is going to do (check their smile and count their teeth).
You can help get your child ready for a dentist visit by playing make-believe with them. You can be the dentist and pretend to check their teeth for cavities. Make it fun and answer any questions that they might have about the process.
You can also call the dental office ahead of time to let them know that your little tyke is anxious about the visit. Most pediatric dental offices have toys, movies, and electronics that will help them to refocus their attention elsewhere instead of the appointment. This can help to relax your child and make the experience more enjoyable.
Still Anxious? Stay in the Waiting Room
A lot of pediatric dentist will request that mom or dad stay in the waiting room so that the child can develop a relationship with the dentist and office without the parent’s “interference.” This can be especially beneficial for parents who have a fear of dentist themselves.
Don’t worry, here at Little Heroes Dentistry, all of our sidekicks (dental assistants) and dentist have tons of experience working with children of all ages – and they love working with little ones. We’ll make sure to take good care of them, so don’t be surprised if your child comes back with a huge smile on their face.
Whether for children or “big kids” alike, Little Heroes Dentistry is sure to relieve that anxiety. Our friendly, fun, and experienced staff know exactly how to ease parent’s worries and will make sure you little one’s have a blast with us.
We’ve gotten so good at it, that we’ve even opened up offices for “big heroes” too (we mean you parents and grandparents). Whether you’re looking for a pediatrician, cosmetic dentist, orthodontist, or general dentist , Little Heroes Dentistry can help.
Visit one of our three offices today in Laredo, Mission, and San Juan.
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