Posted September 24, 2019 in Pediatric Dentistry
There’s really no way to get around it: not very many people consider going to the dentist a fun activity.
While we might not fully understand why (we think it’s an absolute blast!), adults who have been going to the dentist their entire lives are still liable to put off a check-up or cleaning.
If parents are nervous about visiting the dentist and quick to postpone the occasional appointment, what kind of message does that send to kids?
Making your children excited about their dental health will not only save you time (and countless headaches) wrangling them into the dentist’s chair, but it will also ensure your little ones are receiving all the pediatric dental care they need to stay healthy.
We understand that kids would much rather play games or watch television than go to a dental office and have someone prod around in their mouths.
So, to ease the journey to the dentist appointment, we have compiled a list of 3 ways you can get your child excited about coming to see their dentist.
1. Make It a Game
Kids love games. You know what kids don’t love? Dentists.
So, if you can trick your child into thinking that visiting the dentist is one big, spearmint-flavored game, they will be much more excited about coming to the dentist.
There are hundreds of ways you can do this, but here is one idea to get you started:
Use a Point System
Every morning, afternoon, and night, when your children show you they have brushed their teeth, keep a running tally of points somewhere on a whiteboard.
Don’t give the points away too easily though; We recommend a graduating scale: two points for brushing, three points for using mouthwash, and five points for flossing.
Any kid who flosses willingly deserves the points!
(If they can do it without having to be told, throw in an extra point or two for saving mommy or daddy’s sanity.)
If they get through an entire dental visit without being naughty, they are in the big leagues now—give them at least 10 points.
Your kids get to hit the jackpot, you don’t have to fight to get them to stay in the chair, and for once, someone will finally be happy to visit see their dentist. It’s a win-win-win.
If you have multiple children, this is a great way to throw in some lessons about sportsmanship. If you only have one child, throw yourself and any other family or friends up on the board to amp up the competition. The winner gets whatever prize you decide will motivate them the most.
(Pro-tip: Superhero toothbrushes are all the rage with the 10-and-younger crowd right now!)
2. Build Anticipation
Whenever you heard the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it,” you probably always assumed it applied to your career or some other personal goal.
As it turns out, this phrase refers to having to pretend that even you—the person who may or may not have canceled your last two check-ups—actually like going to the dentist.
If you are excited about seeing us, your kids will be excited about it too.
After all, they neither know nor care that you made up a work shift to avoid having your teeth cleaned two months ago and have yet to reschedule the appointment.
We might—but they don’t.
They love you no matter how many times you forget to brush for a minimum of two to three minutes (which we also know and care about).
So, once in a while, just drop a casual, “I can’t wait to go to the dentist and have my teeth all sparkly again” while you are around your little ones.
Aside from kids going absolutely bonkers over sparkly things, you will plant the seed that the dentist is something to look forward to, much like Disneyland or a new state-of-the-art electric toothbrush.
3. Be Positive
It’s strange to us to even have to mention it, but, apparently, some people audibly sigh or groan whenever they have to say the word dentist.
We know the grumbling isn’t directed toward the idea of visiting your dentist, but others might see it that way, especially impressionable little ones who look to their parents for clues on how to feel about things.
Sometimes expressing emotions can be stifled in today’s culture, but you shouldn’t be afraid to announce your love for dental care to the world. When you say dentist, raise your voice a few octaves in excitement, let that excitement shake around in your body, and show off that pearly white, freshly-flossed smile that screams, “I LOVE GOING TO THE DENTIST!”
Depending on the temperament of your children, you might scare them a bit at first, but once the confusion wears off, nothing but pure, unadulterated excitement will be left for them to feel.
4. Bonus Tip: Find a Doctor That Knows How to Work With Children
Kids need a gentle touch when it comes to dental work. We know that—it’s one of the reasons our practice is called Gentle Care Dentistry. (Although, admittedly, it’s also for a lot of the adults out there.)
So when you bring your children to us, we promise to keep up with all the hard work you have been doing at home to get your kids excited to visit the dentist.
Have More Questions?
If you have questions about pediatric dentistry or would like to know more about getting your kids excited about their dental health, give our office a call at (575) 524-3722 to set up an appointment online today!