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Here’s how we, as parents, would love a trip to the dentist to go: Our child eagerly walks into the dentist’s office and jumps into the exam chair, ready for a quick cleaning and a perfect bill of dental health. But we worry that, instead, our kiddo will be anxious or fearful to visit the dentist — making it a long, painful process for everyone.

At the Center for Pediatric Dental Health, we understand why parents often dread the thought of taking their child to the dentist. Anything hard for our kids is hard for us, too! We have a few ideas that may help nurture a positive impression in your child, which will make visits to the dentist much easier for your child and you!

Expectation: It’s hard to prepare children for a positive visit to the dentist.

Reality: Some of the best-loved children’s characters have visited the dentist! Your child can read how Curious George, Daniel Tiger, Little Critter, or the Berenstain Bears visit the dentist’s office.  Most of these books are easy to find at a local library or bookstore. You can even find a few of these books either read aloud or turned into animated videos on YouTube! 

Daniel Tiger’s visit to the dentist is a perfect example. The video from PBS Kids shows Daniel learning about dental tools, getting a teeth cleaning, and even picking out his favorite toothpaste flavor.

Seeing their favorites having positive dental visits sets a good tone for their own visit. Best of all, you can share this positive experience with them.

Expectation: It’s hard to prepare children for a positive visit to the dentist.

Reality: Do they have a sibling who visits us? Bring the younger child along before their own visit! They can see how comfortable it is for the older child and carry that expectation with them on their first visit. 

What if there is no older sibling? No problem! Explain your positive experience to your child or, if possible, let them see how easy it is to get your teeth cleaned. 

Don’t worry, we’ll also pitch in on this one. We will explain to your child what our instruments do, how our big chair moves (and how much fun it is to ride in it!), and what we will do to make their teeth beautiful and shiny.

Expectation: No comfort objects allowed.

Reality: Does your child have a favorite doll, action figure, or stuffed animal? Bring them along! They might even get a teeth cleaning as well. Let’s face it, even Elmo, Dora, or The Incredible Hulk needs a teeth cleaning once in a while. 

For younger children, parents can provide comfort during dental visits. Sometimes, that familiar face is all children need to relax and settle in for their dental visit.

Expectation: Dental visits are serious business.

Reality: We love having fun with our patients! We know the best way to get smiles is to give them, and we are very giving with our smiles. We want your child to be comfortable, so we have no problem taking the time to explore the cleaning tools, praising their cooperation, and showing them how much fun it can be to ride in the big chair.

Expectation: My child is too young to worry about cavities.

Reality: Even baby teeth are susceptible to cavities if proper brushing and flossing aren’t done. While we all hope for a clean bill of health when it comes to your child’s teeth, there’s always a chance an issue could pop up. That’s why it’s so important your child starts dental visits as soon as possible.

Expectation: That first dental visit will take a long time.

Reality: We have many tricks of the trade to make your child feel as comfortable as possible right away. One trick is to ensure the dental visit doesn’t last so long that your child starts to get anxious or antsy. We’ll give your child a thorough exam and cleaning, but we’ll do it as efficiently as possible. Again, the idea is to make your child’s visit a positive one. 

Whichever method works, your child needs to begin dental visits soon after their teeth begin erupting or by about 1 year of age. The dentist will check how many teeth are in, whether they’re positioned well, whether the enamel is sturdy and how clean the teeth are. They’ll also check for any issues such as cavities or gum disease.

At the Center for Pediatric Dental Health, our goal is to make your child’s visit a fun, carefree experience. We know if your child enjoys their visits early, they’ll want to keep coming back. That means they have a better chance of having great dental health throughout their lives. 

We serve the West Central New Jersey area, so stop in and see what we can do to make your child’s dental visit a positive one!

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