Taking your children to the dentist is necessary to make sure their teeth are healthy and to promote excellent oral hygiene habits. However, from a child’s perspective, a trip to the Montreal dentist can be an event with many unknowns. Since your child will have made at least ten trips to the dentist before starting kindergarten and to facilitate all future visits, we suggest that you follow these easy steps to make sure they feel comfortable, relaxed and are able to fully enjoy their experience.
The sooner your child comes to visit us, the better his experience will be because it will allow us to provide him or her with a known and reassuring environment. Whether it is a periodic preventive visit or an emergency, it is preferable that the first visit begins around the age of 2 years or when the first tooth is visible.
In preparation for your visit, and especially for the first time, do not give your child too many details, as this tends to raise more questions and can create anxiety. Keep a positive attitude and avoid saying things like “the doctor will only look” or “it won’t hurt” because if your child needs treatment, they will have an unpleasant experience and may lose confidence in the dentist.
Be careful not to use words such as “pain” and “discomfort” around your child, and let our staff show them the treatments and procedures we will perform since we have the experience. You can simply tell your child that the dentist is looking for “cavities” and wants to clean them or that the doctor will check his smile and count his teeth. It is important to use positive expressions such as “clean, strong and healthy teeth” to ensure that the visit remains fun and non-alarming.
Some parents choose to take their children to their cleaning visit. This is a good approach to introduce them to the environment of a dental practice. The “cleaning” visit (not the treatment appointment) is appropriate for children as it familiarizes them with the equipment, noise and the dental examination process. Invite your child to ask questions and give reassuring answers. Your cleaning appointment is a unique opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of a visit to the dentist.
It is normal and entirely appropriate for a young child to cry and not want to be examined by a stranger. It is, therefore, necessary, as a parent, to remain calm and remember that the dentist and his staff are used to working with children and that they had their share of small fits. Let our professionals guide you; they may ask you to keep your distance or hold their hands to reassure them and prevent them from playing with dental instruments.
It is not recommended to promise your child special treatments if he or she behaves well at the dentist’s. This will only increase their apprehension. For example, saying something like “if you don’t cry, you’ll get a reward” might lead them to think “what’s so bad about the dentist that I’d cry”? Promising a sweet treat also sends the wrong message after your dentist insists on a healthy diet and asks your children to avoid sweets that could potentially cause cavities.
Once the visit is over, congratulate your child on his or her good behaviour and bravery. You can also surprise them with a sticker or a small toy as an encouragement while stressing the importance of good oral hygiene. It is important for your children to learn that going to the dentist is a necessity, not a choice. This visit is part of their life routine, and should not be apprehended, as it is a fun activity and because after all, the dentist will take care of their teeth so they can eat their favorite meals. Your positive attitude will help to establish your child’s oral health routine for the rest of his or her life.
Monk Dental Center in Montreal (Ville-Émard) offers general dentistry, family dentistry, implantology, orthodontics, denturology and much more. Our clinic is at the cutting edge of technology and our team is very proud to help the residents of the city of Montreal achieve healthy and radiant smiles! We are always accepting new patients.