Fear and anxiety about going to the dentist is a common problem even among adults. You may have had an experience at the dentist that followed you into adulthood and desire a more positive experience for your own child. You may have a child with special needs or one who is especially fearful of new experiences. Here are a few of the ways you can help your child feel safe and comfortable while receiving the dental care they need:
Choose a Pediatric Dentist
This is likely the single most important part of instilling a confident, life long habit of regular dental care for your child. Children have unique developmental, psychological and physical needs. Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty specifically for children from 0 to 18 years of age, including those children with special health needs. At Jenkins & LeBlanc, our doctors are trained in the most current dental technologies and treatments and have the specialty training to deliver gentle, compassionate care to your child. And, we make your child’s visit to the dentist fun so they will look forward to their appointment!
First Tooth, First Visit
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that visits to the dentist begin for children sometime around the time they get their first tooth, and/or their first birthday. The first visit is not typically very involved but each visit allows your child to get accustomed to the routine of seeing the dentist and dental staff regularly. The more positive experiences your child has, the more comfortable he/she will be with having regular dental care.
Schedule an Appointment
When you call and schedule an appointment express any concerns about your child and ask any questions you might have. This information allows the staff to schedule your child’s appointment, allowing for extra time if needed. Choose a time of day that your child is likely to be at their best, avoiding regular meal or nap times so that your child is relaxed and rested.
Talk to Them
Talk with your child about the visit…but not too much. Too many details can overwhelm children, especially if they hear words like pain, needles, shots and drills. Avoid discussing your own dental apprehensions. Depending on your child’s age, ask them if they have any questions or concerns about visiting the dentist, this is especially helpful with school-aged children who may have heard playground dramatizations of dental experiences.
Children have an amazing ability to pick up on even subtle cues that you may be apprehensive about the visit. We understand it can be difficult as a parent, children can look small and vulnerable in dental chairs, but remember your child is in good hands. We know that going to the dentist can be frightening, so the staff at Jenkins & LeBlanc will take the time to get to know your child and help them feel at ease. We will explain what we’re doing both to you and your child and gladly answer any questions you may have.
“I was very worried that we would have a difficult time finding someone who could help us care for our little one’s teeth, our youngest is on the ASD scale or has autism. We were warned some dentists won’t take patients who have autism. [Jenkins & LeBlanc] do so well with all my kids. Thank you.” -FK