Going to the dentist is something people rarely look forward to. If us adults struggle to go to the dentist to solve a problem even if we know it has to be done, imagine how children must feel. We really care about the experience that our patients have at our Marbella dentist and so in this post we have put together a series of suggestions on how both parents and children can make going to the dentist better for everyone.
As we said before a child’s fear of a dentist, or their experience of the treatments is often much more extreme than an adult’s, so both parents and dentists need to be very careful with how they deal with the child before, during and after any appointment.
According to the Spanish Paediatric Dentistry Society, it’s advisable to take children to the dentist when their first 20 teeth have come through, which is around the age of three. Without a doubt, this is a great time to start getting children used to going to the dentist. Many professional recommend that the first visit is just to go and see the clinic and let the child get used to it and to meet the dentists, so there’s no fear there.
There’s no magic formula to getting kids to like the dentist, but there are a few tricks and tools that can work wonders and will help you to ease the way.
Firstly, you have to remember that children are people just as we are and have their own individual feelings, emotions and fears which should be respected. For this reason, we recommend talking to them throughout their visit to the dentist to make them feel comfortable. You could talk about anything; how school is going, whether they have a girlfriend or boyfriend, what their best friend’s name is, whatever you can think of. Many paediatric dentists use this technique to draw their attention away from what they are doing and develop a relationship with them.
On the other hand, a very good technique is to reward children after a visit to the dentist with some sort of prize or treat. Everyone likes a prize, right? For kids it’s a real motivator to be brave and encourages them to feel positive after the appointment. Each dentist will have a different trick, whether it’s a medal, stickers, a toothbrush, toothpaste or a certificate, anything that works to focus the mind and that you know they will like. This is also supported by lots of praise during the appointment about how well they are behaving and that they are the best kid they have seen in ages. This makes the child feel proud, and motivates them to keep going and behaving well during the session.
Finally, the most important thing for a parent is to help the child to keep their teeth clean and healthy, so that a visit to the dentist isn’t a drama at all. Here are some tips for good oral care for kids:
- Visit the dentist at least twice a year. 13.7% of kids have a rotten tooth! Choose a friendly, kind, caring dentist with extensive experience in paediatric dentistry that takes the time to develop a positive relationship with your child and make their experience at the dentist the best it can be.
- Set a good example to your children in how to make the right food choices and clean your teeth properly
- Use toothpastes with a good level of fluoride which is suitable to their age
- Supervise the brushing of teeth and make sure they are doing it properly and long enough
- Make sure they brush their teeth three times a day if possible, with the most thorough cleaning taking place at night.
- Get them to brush their teeth every time they have sweets.
- Check their teeth regularly to make sure they look healthy
- If they have had an accident with an impact to the teeth or mouth, or a chipped or damaged tooth, make sure they go to the dentist as soon as possible for a check-up
- Change their toothbrush every three months, as after that they stop being so effective
- Take care with sugary drinks, including fruit drinks and juices, as these have both acid and sugar which can damage the enamel and produce cavities
- Finally, try and make brushing teeth something fun, with music, a game, a toothbrush they really like or even watching their favourite TV programme while they do it.
As you know, by helping our children keep their teeth healthy, we will reduce problems and allow them to have a beautiful smile. At MarDenta, we have well trained paediatric dentists who are very kind and patient. We work with parents and children to minimise any fear or worry, make going to the dentist fun and offer practical advice for the whole family. Come and see us and see how we can help.