Updated: Nov 25, 2019
As a pediatric dental hygienist over the last 10 years, I have seen too many times, children petrified to go the dentist, even after their first visit. Whether I'm seeing them in school or with their parents in an office- a child being scared doesn't change. This is what pushed me towards writing my first children's book- Paw Elementary. This book is about a dog named Roxy, who goes through the emotional and mental process of going to the school dentist. She talks to her family, friends, and the hygienist to help her work through her fear of the unknown.
Paw Elementary goes through her visit from start to finish, showing all the tools, equipment, and what to expect during a every day visit to the dentist.
I have found giving nicknames to my tools, making things into a game, and explaining everything to the child first- helps tremendously! Show-Tell-Do is also very helpful. I have had parents bring their child with them, to watch the parents go to the #dentist too! This shows a child that everyone has to do it and it's not scary or painful.
Reading your children dental visit books, and discussing with them what to expect is another thing parents can do to help ensure a smoother visit. Try not to threaten them with their going to pull your teeth out if you don't behave or teasing them that they are probably going to have a ton of cavities. This is part of the fear that they are dealing with.
Giving them a stuffed animal to hold, to help them feel braver or to positive reinforcement have been helpful tools! What we are trying to accomplish by doing all of these things, is to make coming to the dentist a normal thing and to reduce the number of children who grow up to become adults with severe dental anxiety from bad experiences as a child!
With #dental decay being the second common disease after the common cold- educating and practicing good oral hygiene and regular preventive appointments will help us raise children with reduced number in cavities! Or a cavity free generation!