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Breeze through your kid’s next dental visit with these top tips.

Instilling lifelong oral care habits in children is a goal for every parent—and that includes guiding kids during dental appointments to make sure they grow up knowing their dentist is a friend and not a foe.

We all know kids have minds of their own and it can be hard to predict how they might express their emotions, especially in a setting like a pediatric dentist office. Overexcitement can lead to confusion, while uncertainty can lead them to feel cranky or even downright afraid. Positivity, even enthusiasm, are completely appropriate, however.

As a kid-centric Vancouver dental office, we at Must Love Kids Pediatric dental office in Vancouver do our very best to keep our little patients entertained, happy, well-informed, and confident. Parents play a huge role in making this happen so we’ve gathered up 8 pro tips to help you help your child have a wonderful, worry-free visit at Must Love Kids.

1. Save time by filling out new patient registration forms before your child’s appointment.

Filling out forms isn’t exactly fun. But you can save time by completing new patient registration or updates using our online Patient Forms page before your kid’s appointment. By getting this out of the way you’ll spend less time in the waiting room and be able to give your child your undivided attention.

2. Do you have more than one child? You can schedule both appointments at once.

It goes without saying that the life of a parent is a busy one. Juggling kids, work, and your personal life can make scheduling one appointment tricky, let alone multiples. Unlike some other pediatric dentists, we’re super flexible with scheduling and welcome double appointments for multi-children families for routine care. Let us know how we can help and we’ll do our best to make it work.

3. Go ahead and let your child have something light to eat before their appointment, but stay away from sugary snacks and beverages.

There’s no reason to not let your kids eat their breakfast or lunch before their dentist appointment. In fact, we encourage parents to let their child have a light snack before their visit as an empty tummy can quickly lead to cranky behavior. However, we do advise parents to not give them anything sugary, including candy, soda, or juice , a heavy meal or food that would be hard to digest (hamburgers for example), especially when your child will be reclining in a dental chair. Be sure they brush their teeth after eating!

4. Ease your kid’s uncertainties by reading a book about going to the dentist or watching a video.

Not all kids experience dental anxiety. But some do. A little over 40% of children experience dental fear, mostly because they don’t know what to expect. We always suggest parents explain what they might see, hear, or even smell in a dentist’s office, and check out our helpful first visit overview here.

Take it a step further by reading dental-related books with your child, like Mercer Mayer’s “Just Going to the Dentist.” You can also watch videos, such as Dudley Visits the Dentist created by the American Dental Association. YouTube is also a great resource for finding kid-friendly dental videos designed to help ease nervous children.

5. Trust your kid’s dentist, but let them know if your child needs you to accompany them in the exam room.

Our providers are able to create a more authentic friendship with patients and provide the best care by building mutual trust. Ones this trust and relationship is established your child will feel confident and excited to visit the dental office for care. But it has been observed that sometimes children are able to handle certain procedures even better when mom or dad isn’t in the room, which is why our doctors will usually let parents know they can wait in the waiting room. Dentists might also ask this of parents if they are using laser and for the reduction of exposure of aerosol to anyone not required to be in the room so they are able to provide the highesthigfhest standard of care to your child.  In some cases, the dentist may ask for you to specifically accompany the child during the procedure if they think that the child is very nervous. If you have concerns over whether to be in the room or not, simply give us a call and you can discuss it with us before the appointment.

6. Use positive words when talking about the dentist and be upbeat and positive mindful careful about how you describe upcoming procedures.

Kids listen to everything we say and when it comes to dental-related topics, what you say has a strong effect on how they’ll view the dentist. Use positive words when discussing an upcoming dental visit and ask your child how they feel about the dentist. Words like “pain,” “hurt,” “needles,” and even “sharp” can also lead to negative feelings. It’s usually best to not mention your own dental fear or anxieties, especially for very young children who are likely to mirror how you feel.

If you’re not sure how to talk about dentistry, let your child know the dentist is his or her friend and will explain everything they are doing before they do it.

7. Don’t use bribery to trigger good behavior but plan for a special event after the appointment.

Bribery doesn’t work when it comes to shaping positive behavior, but positive reinforcement does! Planning a special event after a dentist appointment is a fun idea. If your child does their best during their appointment, surprise them with a trip to the playground, their favorite snack, or some other treat or event they love. Doing this regularly reinforces the idea that going to the dentist is a positive situation.

8. Have fun playing dentist at home and take turns as the dentist and the patient.

The more you can make going to the dentist seem like a fun adventure, the better! Playing dentist at home with young kids is a great way to do this. You can take turns as the dentist and the patient so your child can experience both sides. If you really want to kick it up a notch, or if your child really enjoys this game and wants to learn more, you can even buy a dentist playset with toy tools.

Prepped and ready for your child’s next dentist appointment?

With these 8 tips and tricks in mind, we’re confident you’re ready to help make your kid’s next dentist appointment a great one.

If your child hasn’t been in to see a dentist yet or if it’s been six months or longer since they’ve seen a pediatric dentist, it’s time to schedule an appointment with our team at Must Love Kids. We recommend you book your child’s first appointment as soon as their teeth begin to come in and biannually thereon.

You can either give our office a call at 360-450-2999 or use our online Make An Appointment form right from your computer or phone.