Even if your orthodontist is the best in town with a fun office and the latest technology, any type of dental visit can often still cause a great deal of anxiety for a child. It is important that everyone, no matter what their age, feel confident and secure when visiting the orthodontist. When it comes to children, parent involvement and cooperation is crucial in creating a positive experience. Your children are very perceptive and will look to you on how they should be feeling about their visit. These are some things that you can do to help improve your child’s dental experience.
The best advice we can give when it comes to creating a positive experience is to actually speak positively about the appointment. Do not make a big deal out of the appointments (especially in front of your child). If your child sees that you are anxious, they will become anxious as well. Treat a dental appointment as if it were just another errand, like running to Target. A good way to help normalize the dentist/orthodontist is to start them at an early age. If a child has consistent good experiences early on, there will be nothing for them to fear.
Schedule an Orientation
Consider setting up a short appointment for your child to come tour the office and meet the staff. This will help familiarize them with the surroundings and who they will be seeing. Creating familiarity helps to lessen stress levels. If your child can see the orthodontist as a friend first, they will be more likely to allow them to work in their mouth. The worst thing that you can do is to treat the appointment as a punishment. A statement like, “If you don’t brush your teeth, you’ll have to go to the dentist” creates an association with fear and pain.
Assess Your Level of Involvement
Your level of involvement may vary depending upon your personal level of anxiety, and the personality of your child. If you are experiencing a lot of anxiety, your child may pick up on it and it may be best for you to remain in the waiting room. Your presence may also distract the orthodontist and your child. Ultimately, you know your child’s needs best and can assess how they are feeling.
You can help to make sure that your child’s visit is as stress-free as possible. Your positivity and involvement can make or break a dental appointment. For more advice or to schedule an orientation visit, give our office a call.
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