To help the dental visit go more smoothly:
1. Tell your child about the visit but limit the amount of details given.
2. Answer any questions with simple, to-the-point, answers. Let the dentist answer more complex or detailed questions as dentists are trained to describe things to children in a non-threatening and easy-to-understand language.
3. Be careful of the words that you use such as “hurt” and “pain.”
4. Be sure not to tell your child about an unpleasant dental experience that you’ve had.
5. Explain things in a matter that they’ll understand how important it is to maintain healthy teeth and gums and that the dentist is a friendly doctor whose job it is to help do this.
6. Don’t promise a reward for going to the dentist.
Ways a dentist can calm an anxious child:
1. Voice control. The dentist uses a friendly voice, which could become firmer if necessary.
2. Simple instructions. The dentist will use simple words (tell, show, do) to explain a procedure and may demonstrate the procedure on a doll or another person before performing the procedure on the child.
3. Positive reinforcement. The dentist will use praise and compliments to reward for good behaviour.
4. Distraction. The dentist will tell stories or engage the child in conversation to draw the child’s attention away from the work being completed.
5. Nonverbal communication. The dentist uses body language, such as a simple smile to reinforce positive behaviour.
6. Sedation. The dentist may use sedation to help the child relax and be more comfortable, if necessary. The two most common types of sedation that might be used in children are nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) or an oral sedative (such as Valium).