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Parents frequently ask, “ What should I say to my child before coming to the dentist?”
WHAT TO SAY:
Tomorrow we are going to the dentist. The dentist helps us make sure our teeth stay strong and healthy. After the visit, you will get a new toothbrush and a special prize. Your teeth will get brushed and you will get special vitamins to help make your teeth strong.
WHAT NOT TO SAY:
Tomorrow you have to go to the dentist. I want you to be good and not cry. Don’t worry about anything because it won’t hurt.
HOW TO ANSWER QUESTIONS:
It’s natural for children to be curious and ask questions, but how we answer them can be tricky. Children are unable to process complex thoughts so when we tell them it’s not going to hurt or that it will only hurt a little, it often has the opposite affect. Then the little ones come in with preconceived anxiety.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
We try to develop a relationship based upon trust and friendship rather than authority. If your child feels a sense of self-control, there will be no fear. During this portion of the visit, if you try to help it may have the opposite effect. When children hear their parents voice they often get more apprehensive so your physical presence alone is usually all that is necessary to reassure your child that all is well.
Children are very good at reading their parents feelings and non-verbal cues. If you are relaxed, your child will be too. If you silently observe or read a magazine, you will be showing your child that there is no cause for alarm.
Usually things go smoothly, but occasionally children become apprehensive. We don’t push hard. The goal is to have children feel comfortable coming to the dentist. We’ll do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal, even if it means spoiling them with prizes at the end. Being specialists in caring for your child’s dental needs, we not only enjoy working on children, but we take on the responsibility to trying to change behavior, from negative to positive experiences.