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Redlands dentist offers tips for making your kids comfortable with dental visits and improving their oral health

Taking your child to the dentist is a necessary task for parents. As adults we know that these appointments are important for ensuring that there are no developing problems and for instilling good lifelong habits. However, as a child, the visits can be overwhelming. Imagine being a kid, laying in a chair, in a bright room, while a stranger talks to you and uses cold, metal instruments to examine your teeth. It’s easy to understand how it can be overwhelming or even frightening.

Dr. Terry Vines of Pure Gold Professionals in Dentistry has been working with Redlands families for many years. He offers these tips to help parents prepare their child for an upcoming dental visit:

  • Start young: The earlier a child starts going to the dentist, the more comfortable he or she will be with the experience. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that children have their first dental appointment around one year of age.
  • Keep it simple: Rather than overwhelm the child with too many details, stick to the basic facts about what to expect during the appointment. Also, Dr. Vines cautions against warning a child against a possible treatment like a filling because it may cause unnecessary anxiety. Similarly, it’s best to avoid being too positive in case the treatment is needed because it may cause a child to lose trust in you.
  • Use appropriate language: Follow the lead of your dentist. Some will say they are looking for “sugar bugs” while others will say they are “counting their teeth.” Listen to the words they use and then reinforce the same language at home.
  • Consider bringing your child with you. If you go to a family dentist, you may want to bring him or her to one of your appointments to begin to understand what to expect. If you do this, however, ensure that the dental team is on the same page and understands that the idea is to ease apprehension for your child. Avoid invasive treatments or scary conversation.
  • Prepare for some complaining. It’s normal and acceptable if your child exhibits some nervousness or fear during the appointment. Remember that the dental team is the expert and let them lead. In some cases, they may ask you to hold a hand, or pat your child’s leg during the appointment, in others they may want you to keep your distance.

Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be scary, even for a kid. Yet, it’s important to find a practice that you trust and respect. For more information on how to prepare your child for his or her upcoming dental visit, call the office of Dr. Vines today.

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