Here are some tips on how to help your toddler stay calm when they visit the dentist!
Going to the dentist can be scary even for some adults but especially for kids.
Strangers in masks poking in your mouth and teeth while you have to lie down can feel vulnerable, intimidating, even violating. Especially with loud, buzzing, drilling sounds all around.
That’s why talking to your child about it and discussing all of the steps and practicing them through play pretend can be so beneficial in helping your little one stay calm in a surprising new setting.
Here are some things to mention and play pretend about:
🦷 waiting room (waiting can be torturous for toddlers, let them know ahead of time there’s waiting and practice fun ways to pass the time like singing a song or coloring in a book while you wait)
🦷if you’re getting X-rays mention the blanket that gets put over, it’s heavy and can feel restraining, but if you discuss and practice putting it on, it won’t seem as intimidating
🦷practice laying down and brushing- this can be the hardest part for little ones - practice doing it at home and offer fun ways to pass the time (singing a song in their head, pretending to be an alligator swimming)
🦷 let them know there’s a bright light that will get turned on over them, and sunglasses they’ll have to put on to keep the bright light out but helps the dentist see in the dark cave, you can lay down and let them see your mouth and how it gets dark in the back
🦷 discuss different dental terms and tools to get them familiar with the language, it’s intimidating enough to have to lay down and wait, but on top of that people are saying words you can’t understand, that can be hard to deal with
🦷discuss the buzzing sounds of the instruments. If you have an electronic toothbrush at home you can use that for the bussing and vibration movements to get familiar
🦷allow them to practice on you so they can see the benefits of helping and find commonality and familiarity that you go to the dentist too
🦷 play with toys where they’re the dentist to practice the process over and over again and help them understand all POV of the situation
🦷 offer a fun celebration, wether it’s the toy at the office they get with a token or perhaps a fun way to the park afterwards, remind them it won’t last forever and once it’s all finished there’s more fun things to look forward to!
Check out the Going to the Dentist video at Paisley’s Corner on YouTube to help your little ones get familiar with the process and terms plus fun kids activities and crafts to help them feel ready for the dentist!