Most parents are aware that regular cleanings are one of the most important things they can provide to ensure their children grow up with healthy teeth and gums. The issue is that cleanings can be stressful for young children, who may become upset or scared during a dentist visit. The following tips will help you prepare your child for their teeth cleanings so it isn't scary, and perhaps even a little bit fun.
Tip #1: Learn about the dentist
Collect some books and cartoons aimed at first dentist visits. Read or watch the media first, though, since you don't want anything to plant fears in your child's mind. Choose media that provides a fun and positive view of a dental visit, as opposed to anything that focuses on overcoming fear of the dentist. There is no reason to introduce the idea of fear for the dentist if your child hasn't yet developed such a worry. The only exception to this is if your child is already a little fearful, as opposed to slightly nervous.
Tip #2: Get some false teeth
There are several ways to go about this. You can create your own model mouth by cutting packing peanuts in half and then gluing them around an oval of cardboard. Leave a space in the center of the oval so you can fold it in half to create the mouth. Another option is to glue white pom-poms to the circle. Once you have the false teeth, allow your child to play dentist with them. You can demonstrate what the dentist will do, using a toothbrush as the dental tools. Then your child can do the same thing. This helps provide a feeling of control, since they will have an idea of what the dentist's job will be.
Tip #3: Play dentist with real tools
You can purchase small dental mirrors at most drugstores. Pick up one of these and a small battery-powered electric toothbrush. A small rubber gum brush, like the ones that slip over your finger to brush and rub an infant's gums, also comes in handy. Once you have these on hand, it's time to play dentist. Place the gum brush on your finger and use it to count your child's teeth. Then, do the same thing with the electric toothbrush. The vibrating brush will help prepare your child for the vibration of the cleaning and polishing tools. You can then use the mirror to inspect their mouth. Then, switch places and let your child inspect your mouth. Playacting is one of the best methods to set a child at ease, because it empowers them with knowledge so that they don't have a fear of the unknown.
For more ideas for preparing for a dental cleaning, contact a dentist in your area, such as one from Preferred Family Dental.