Going to the dentist, as we all know, is an important part of keeping our kids' mouths healthy. Still, it typically doesn't rank very high on any parent or child's "want-to-do" list. Being asked to sit still -- often tipped back in a big chair -- with a bright light in their eyes and someone poking around in their mouth can rattle even the calmest of kids.
At my now 6-year-old son Brady's first checkup, he happily climbed onto my lap in the exam chair and opened wide. He was perfectly at ease -- until the hygienist began to recline the chair. As the chair moved, Brady began to squirm and whimper. At that, his older sister -- who had just sailed through her own exam without a tear or complaint -- began to cry and yell, "Stop! Leave him alone! Don't hurt my brother!" which, of course, made Brady wail louder. By the time the exam was over, the idea of getting a root canal was more appealing than the thought of bringing my kids back for their next checkup. Fortunately, as my kids have learned what to expect and developed a good relationship with their dentist and her staff, appointments have gotten much easier. Their biggest concern these days: which two trinkets to choose from the "prize box" at their end of their visit.
Whether your child is mildly nervous or seriously afraid, try these strategies to make visiting the dentist a more positive experience.
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