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How to Prepare Children for a Dental Checkup

Here at the office of G.R. Sheumaker Jr., DDS, we offer high-quality dental services for both adults and children, as we want to help people of all ages take good care of their teeth. In our experience, people can develop anxiety around dental appointments from a very young age, and we want to help you avoid instilling that anxiety in your kids.

Here are a few things you can do to help your child prepare for their dental checkup and have a positive experience:

  • Keep a Positive Attitude – Children pick up on their caregivers’ emotions, and they can often tell when you are feeling nervous or reluctant. If you’ve had bad experiences at the dentist in the past, try your best to stay positive about your child’s upcoming dental checkup, and don’t tell them horror stories about your dental work. Your kids will be much more likely to stay calm if you model that calmness for them.
  • Play Pretend – Another good way to prepare your child for their first dental checkup is to make it a game. The next time you and your child are playing pretend, roleplay the dental appointment—have them sit in a chair, count and brush their teeth, and explain what the “dentist” is doing and why. This will help your child know what to expect, and it will remove a lot of their fear of the unknown.
  • Provide Positive Reinforcement – If your child is nervous about their dental checkup, the best thing to do is provide positive reinforcement—emphasize that the appointment is safe and normal, and encourage them to be brave. After the appointment, praise your child for the things that they did well and tell them you are proud of them for facing their fears. Do this even if much of the appointment went poorly, as this positive reinforcement will help your child behave better the next time.