You and our dentist should each take part in making sure your child’s first dental appointment is a positive experience. Be aware that any anxiety displayed by you, the parent, will be picked up by your child. Also, if a dentist is unfriendly, unnecessary fear can be caused in the child.
Your Role in Your Child’s Appointment
There are several things you can do to help your child’s dental visit go more smoothly, including:
1. Do not promise a reward for going to the dentist.
2. Do not tell your child about unpleasant experiences you’ve had that the dentist.
3. Avoid saying words like “hurt,” “shot,” or “painful.”
4. Tell your child about dental visits, but limit the details you give. Answer their questions with short, simple answers. Let Dr. James Feldman answer the more complex questions. Our dentist is trained to describe things in a way that is easy to understand and nonthreatening.
5. Tell your child that the dentist is a friendly doctor whose job is to help them have healthy teeth and gums. Stress the importance of oral health.
The Dentist’s Role
It is normal for children to be nervous or fearful of visiting the dentist. A child may fear separation from their parents, the unknown, or being injured. Our dentist knows how to ease your child’s fears, using techniques like:
1. Using a friendly voice that may become firmer if necessary.
2. Explaining procedures in simple words.
3. Our dentist may tell stories to engage the child in conversation in order to draw their attention away from the procedure.
4. Dr. James Feldman uses body language, like a simple smile or a frown, to reinforce positive behavior and discourage negative behavior. Your child will also be praised and complimented for good behavior.
5. If necessary, our dentist can use sedation to help your child relax and be more comfortable. Oral sedation or nitrous oxide may be used.
It is imperative that your child has a positive experience at the dentist in their early years so that he or she does not develop dental fears later. For more information about your child’s first dental visit in Washington, DC, and to schedule an appointment, contact our office.