1 - Be Their Patient
Ask your child to play dentist with you or a sibling. Offer them a toothbrush and have them count your teeth, then use the toothbrush to clean them.
This shows the little one what a dental appointment might be like, and serves as a great launching point for conversations about the importance of brushing, foods that cause plaque build-up, what cavities are, and so on.
The more information your child has about dental health, the less mysterious and terrifying the dentist’s office will be.
2 - Bubbles
A proven method of calming anxious nerves is deep slow breathing.
For little ones this can be difficult to try especially if they are crying.
Blowing bubbles through a plastic wand, like those found at the dollar store, actually achieves the same result as the child is forced to exhale slowly.
Everyone loves bubbles, so this can serve as a wonderful distraction and comfort. You might even see a smile!
3 - Positive Association
Once each dental appointment is over, switch gears promptly into a special activity - like a favourite playground, or one-on-one board game time with Mom or Dad.
Let your child know that you’re celebrating their bravery at the dentist and just have fun.
This helps kids associate their dentist with happy memories…counteracting the anxiety they felt leading up to the appointment.
Next time you have to break the news that it’s check-up time, your child will know there is something to look forward to on your next Guelph children's dentist appointment.