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For Parents

A Guide For Parents

By Dr. Shahrzad Shahbazian

You know taking your kids to the dentist is vital for maintaining healthy teeth, while teaching them good oral hygiene for the rest of their adult life. Children often fear going to the dentist, but what can you do to ease them into their first appointment? It is my experience that children fear the unknown more than anything else on their initial visit, so I would like to offer some tips to help them prepare for their first checkup

  1. Never use your Doctor as a punishment for eating too many sweets.
  2. Start your child’s dental visits at an early age.
  3. Make the dentist’s office a familiar place by playing games at home: use mirrors, brushes, dolls, books and pretend games.
  4. Tell your children the dentist wants to see your beautiful smile, and only count your teeth.
  5. Don’t transfer your own fear and anxiety to your child. Avoid telling children too much ahead of time. Refrain from using words like pain, hurt, needle, etc.
  6. Let the child know at an early age going to the dentist is a MUST, not a choice they can avoid.
  7. Don’t use the word cavity. Use words they can understand.
  8. Don’t promise prizes ahead of time. The dental office usually offers gifts at the end of your child’s appointment.
  9. Try to reinforce your child’s experience at the dentist by following a thorough brushing technique. The next night, stand in front of the mirror with your child and have fun brushing.
  10. Ask your dentist if it is ok to bring your child along for a casual greeting, to see the dental office surroundings, and just to shake hands and get acquainted.
  11. Have your child draw a picture for the dentist.
  12. Bring a personal picture of your child on your first visit. This can be posted in the exam room and your child may feel a sense of importance and that they belong at the office.
  13. Finally remember your health care provider was a child once and may also be a parent, so relax, things may go well after all.

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