Some parents choose to take their children to a pediatric dentist when their kids are young. Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children, which makes them ideal for nervous or very young children. As your kids grow older, you may decide it's time for them to join the rest of your family at the family dentist. Here are four tips that can help you make the transition as easy as possible:
1. Inform your dentist of the situation.
Family dentists are used to working with patients of all ages. Your family dentist likely treats many children, so they know how to put kids at ease. Your dentist can be an ally if you let them know what the situation is. When scheduling your child's first appointment, let your dentist know that it's their first trip to a general dentistry practice. Your dentist can tailor their approach as necessary to ensure a good experience for your child.
2. Go to the dentist with your child.
Children are still building their confidence and independence. In the meantime, they often feel more secure when their parents are nearby. You can allay your child's fears by going to the dentist with them. Even sitting in the waiting room with them can give your child peace of mind. Since family dentists can treat patients at every stage of life, you may want to save time by scheduling your own dental checkup right after your child's appointment.
3. Find a dentist who offers distractions during treatment.
Some dentists provide distractions to help their patients feel more comfortable during dental treatments. It's not uncommon for family dentists to have televisions mounted in their exam rooms so patients can look at the screen during treatment. Other dentists offer complimentary use of portable music players. Listening to music on headphones can drown out distracting or upsetting noises. If you believe distractions will help your child adjust to a new dentist, prioritize finding a dental practice that provides them.
4. Discuss light sedation options with your dentist.
Sedation dentistry is an option available to people with moderate to severe dental anxiety. Many types of anxiolytic drugs are not appropriate for children, but light sedation can be administered without ill effects. Nitrous oxide is an inhalant that produces feelings of euphoria and calmness. If your child is very nervous about going to the dentist, nitrous oxide may be an option to help them get through it.