Taking your child with sensory issues to the dentist can feel like an impossible task. With the large range of potential triggers at a dental office, there’s always some apprehension on the part of a parent. I’ve been a dentist for 17 years and can understand exactly where parents are coming from. I’m here to tell you though that with proper planning going to the dentist can be a positive experience for everyone. Today, we’ll look at my top 3 tips to help you and your child have a successful dentist appointment.
1. Plan Around Your Child
As a parent you know your child better than anyone else, so think about what sensory issues they might have. The dentist's office is teaming with new sights and sounds, but different children will react differently to each one.
For example, if lights are a potential sensory issue, take that into account and perhaps bring a pair of sunglasses. Little things like this can really help, but it’s up to you to know what’s best for your child.
This is just one example, and I’m sure as a parent that you can think of many others that are unique to your child. The idea is that you truly understand your child, so you’re the one that is best equipped to determine what’s going to be a potential problem. Bring these ideas and concerns to your dentist and they’ll be happy to help you.
2. Talk to Your Dentist
Always start a conversation with your child’s dentist, as it really does go a long way. Speaking as a dentist, we’ve dealt with all manner of children with sensory issues, and are happy to put our expertise to work. We’ve been around the block a few times, and likely can provide you with some valuable advice.
We’re also more than happy to work with you to make the appointment a success. Our goal is to make every patient comfortable, and we will do whatever we can to make that happen. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns with us, and we’ll do what we can to alleviate them. We want every child that enters our office to leave with a positive impression of the dentist.
3. Plan Your Visit
Lastly, make sure to always go over the visit with your child. Spending some time explaining the process and what to expect can help set them at ease. You might also want to consider using visual aids such as videos. Having a video play some of the sights and sounds beforehand can make the experience that much easier when it comes time to go to the dentist.
You can also talk to your dentist about having a test or familiarization appointment. This is an appointment where you can visit the office with your child and get comfortable with the setting. This allows them to experience the sights and sounds of the office without having to add on the stress an actual appointment has.
In the end, the dentist doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. With a bit of planning and conversation, you can help your dentist make it a positive one for all involved.