Taking Your Toddler To The Dentist: Handy Ideas For Parents
Most people do not love going to the dentist. As an adult, you can make yourself suck it up and sit through the appointment pleasantly. But toddlers don't have this level of patience. If they are feeling scared, unsure, or nervous about seeing the dentist, they won't typically be on their best behavior during the appointment, which can make it hard for the dentist to do their job. How do you make a dental appointment more pleasant for your toddler and for their dentist? Start with these ideas.
Talk about the dentist beforehand
You don't want to spend weeks working your toddler up about their upcoming dental appointment, but you don't want what happens at the dentist to come as a total surprise, either. You have to find a balance between educating your child about the dentist and fueling their anxiety. A good way to do this is to just talk about the dentist, in general, on a daily basis for a few weeks. Bring up how dentists are good at cleaning teeth, how they like when people brush their teeth, and so forth. Then, when your toddler gets up in the morning and you say "today we're going to the dentist!" they will know what that means and won't be so shocked.
Let them have a little control
One reason toddlers sometimes act up at the dentist is that they have to give up control. They have to sit there and let someone else fiddle around in their mouths, and they don't get a say in it. If you can otherwise give your toddler a little control during the dental appointment, they may remain in a better mood. Let them choose where to sit in the waiting room. Allow them to choose a toy to play with. Dentists do this too—for example, they often give children a choice of what toothpaste flavor they want.
Allow them to bring along a blanket or toy
Let your child bring one blanket or toy from home. They can hold onto this item while the dentist works on them. Having something familiar in their arms will help your child feel more comfortable. The physical act of squeezing and hugging something also provides a natural sense of ease.
Taking a toddler to the dentist is not always easy. However, dentists are used to working with little ones and won't be offended if the appointment does not go perfectly. Use the tips above, and each appointment should get a little better.