None of us are immune from cavities, plaque, or just general dental care. We need to be especially vigilant with our kids’ dental health, making sure they brush and floss their teeth as often as possible. But going to the dentist can be a hassle for parents—and understandably nerve-wracking for kids, especially if it’s their first time. So what are you to do when your child needs dental care?
That’s what this article is here for: to help guide you to the five things you should do when your child needs dental care. Keep reading to find out these different steps and it should make the next trip to the dentist a relative breeze.
- Determine Your Child’s Dental Needs
There are actually any number of reasons we go to the dentist beyond a simple check-up. Is your child complaining of a toothache? It could be a cavity. Do their gums bleed easily while brushing and flossing? It could be excess plaque. Are their wisdom teeth coming in? What about the rate at which their baby teeth are coming in or falling out? Is this causing crowding or even oral pain for your child?
Questions like these are the kind that can only be answered by actually going to the dentist. However, generally speaking, it’s really important to go to the dentist at least once every six months for a cleaning.
- Learn About Your Child’s Potential Dentist
Before you can allay any fears your child might have about the dentist, it can help to learn about your dentist. What kind of services does your dentist provide? Are they a normal dentist that handles routine cleaning, root canals, and cavity fillings? You can usually discover these things by going to the clinic’s website and looking at their “Services” sections, specifically those dedicated to pediatric dentistry.
- Explain What Happens at the Dentist
This will, of course, depend on what sort of dental needs your child has. However, regardless of those needs, you child may be a little scared and need some consoling or explanation as to what actually occurs in the dentist’s office, especially if they’ve never been there before. If you’re taking them in for a simple tooth-cleaning, make sure to explain to them things like the loud toothbrush can’t hurt them and is just making sure their teeth are nice and clean.
However, if they’re going to the dentist for something much more involved, such as a tooth removal, a root canal, or even a cavity, it’s even more important to let them know that they will be perfectly safe.
This is where a painless sedation dentist can really come in handy, since they are well-equipped to handle patients—including children—who might have intense fear or anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist. Sedation dentistry is an excellent option for children with special needs, who may have difficulty adjusting to the sights, smells, and sounds of a dentist’s office.
- Ensure Your Child Has a Good Night’s Sleep
This is especially important to make the visit to the dentist’s office itself as painless and even enjoyable as possible. The last thing anyone wants is their child grumpy or upset when they’re sitting in the waiting room, not to mention while being examined by the doctor. Having a good night’s sleep the day before the dentist’s office visit can help ensure your child is relaxed and feeling okay when the dentist starts examining their teeth.
- Make Sure Your Child Brushes Their Teeth Before Going
This is definitely a “last but not least” kind of advice, since it really helps make your dentist’s job easier to show up with mouth free of visible food and nasty particulates. In general, it’s just very good to prepare your child for a visit to the dentist by getting them in the mindset of cleaning their teeth before they even leave the house. That of course doesn’t mean they should ONLY be cleaning their teeth before going to the dentist. It needs to be a healthy habit!
That covers the five main things you should consider doing when preparing your child for their dentist’s visit, whether it’s their first time or they’ve just got those pre-dentist jitters.
Frankie Little is Denver-based freelance blogger who has been writing about family and relationships for nearly 10 years. When he’s not looking into the tips for taking your child to the dentist, he can be found hiking one of the many trails near his home with his Beagle, Moxie.