Alexis' First Visit To The Dentist! + 5 Tips to Make Dental Trips Less ScaryFriday, April 07, 2017
Last week, it was Dy and A's trip to the dentist again! Dental trips are not new to the elder brother, but it was Alexis' first time and truthfully, I was a little skeptical as to whether her first trip would be as uneventful as her brother's.
Thankfully, she did well! Amidst the many kids screaming in the other dental rooms, the shuffling of footsteps through the opened doors during examination, this little girl kept her mouth opened for the dentist-jiejie to check on her.
Personally, I feel that first dental trips are very important because it really makes or breaks the child's confidence for their subsequent dental trips. We usually employ a couple of tricks to prep them for their first-trips - be it to the hairdressers or to the dentist.
#1. Psych them up!
Prior to our trip to the dentist, we would usually describe in detail how would the dental trips be, so that the children can anticipate what is coming next and not feel worried or insecure.
Acting out the process will be very useful too. We would act out a regular dental trip, asking the children to lie down on a cushion and then open their mouths while I act as the dentist, explaining to them that I would put a tiny mirror into their mouths so that I can check for "worms". Then, I would take a toothbrush and gently brush their teeth.. and then end it with them gurgling water and spitting it out.
I realised that when we act out the entire process, the children get to understand that dental trips are actually not very terrifying. Instead, it is a regular visit to make sure that their teeth don't have any "worms". We also show them pictures of decayed teeth to explain to them that the dentist can prevent it from happening.. so they are very grateful to the dentist in a way. 😂
#2. Avoid scaring the children
I think we all grow up from an era of getting scared by parents? I always hear how parents would scare children into sleeping early, or monsters will get them. Or scare them about ghosts and such.
I also realised that parents have the tendency to scare children that the dentist will pull out all of their teeth.
WHY WOULD U DO THAT?
I feel that as parents, we should let our children feel safe and secure, and not scare them at all. We all know that dentists do not pull out all of children's teeth. We all know that teeth have to go only when it is shaky or when it is overly decayed, and that is exactly what I will tell my children.
Do avoid telling them your negative stories about your dental trips as well, such as wisdom tooth extractions, root canal etc. because while it is true, the children are not ready for it and it would create a negative impression on the kids, so much so that they would not want to try.
How can we expect our children to not be afraid of the dentist, when we have been scaring them all the time?
#3. Set the example
I personally felt that it was easier for Alexis to understand what was going on because she watched Dylan going through the entire process. If you are bringing your first-born and there are no older siblings for them to follow suit, you can bring them into your own dental appointment!
When children see that their parents are going through the same notion of dental trips, it becomes a natural thing for them too.
#4. Find a nice dentist
We don't exactly seek out a particular wonderful dentist for our children as I feel that finding a clinic that is nearby and easily accessible is more important to us, but I feel that a friendly dental clinic actually helps to set the mood of the children.
We've been to Sunshine Dental Group before for my mum's dental procedure and our kids loved the place because it had TV and toy area and stuff.. kinda sets the mood to be more playful and less serious.
We go to Smiles R Us on urgent situations, like once, we found a little decay on Dylan's front tooth. While the area is pretty cramped and hardly enough space for our stroller to go in, the dentist who was there was reasonably patient with Dylan even though I felt that she hadn't had much experience with young children.
All our children go to the dentist at the Polyclinic. Many might not feel comfortable with the idea because somehow... polyclinics don't have a good reputation among parents? 😅 We felt that the Polyclinic that we went to is really pretty nice and relaxing, even though there is no play area either. We do get different dentists every time we visit, but we have been visiting them for the past 5 years and all of them are really nice and patient when it comes to children!
Dy and Alexis are also very excited when they are done with their check-ups because they would each walk away with a sticker of their choice. 😂😂
#5. Help them to maintain dental health!
Last but definitely not the least is to help your child to maintain dental health. When the child has healthy teeth, their first few trips to the dentist is generally more of a routine check, with a little bit of polishing and scaling.
Very rarely do they have to go through tramumatising experiences like drilling or extraction, if they have great teeth. First things first, I think ensuring that our children brush their teeth daily is the most important aspect in terms of maintaining dental health.
Do you know that by introducing probiotics to your children helps to not only improve their bowel system, but also keeps dental caries low amongst 3 to 4 year old children?
Lactobacillus, one of the probiotic strains, reduces the oral count of Streptococcus mutans associated with dental diseases. Probiotics are easily available in yoghurt, dark chocolate, cheese, fermented soy beans... AND in milk powder as well, especially in Friso.
Probiotics also help children to manage atopic eczema!
Take note though, probiotics cannot survive high temperatures (> 40°C), so never overheat food products containing probiotics. Otherwise, their effectiveness will be greatly reduced.
With these few steps in place, I can almost guarantee you a fuss-free and enjoyable dental session with your little ones! How do you usually prep your child for a new experience? Share them with me!
This post is in collaboration with Friso Singapore.
Kids learn from experiences whether big or small, good or bad. That’s why Friso provides the right nutrition for your child to be strong inside to take on challenges.
To find out more about Friso, visit Friso on their website, Facebook and Instagram!