5 Tips To Prepare Your Toddler For A Dentist Appointment

As an adult, you might dread your own dentist appointments. Therefore, it should not be surprising if your toddler gets frightened at the idea of going to the dentist. Little ones are often afraid of strange places and might be afraid of what going to the dentist entails. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your toddler for a dental appointment.

1. Schedule With a Pediatric Dentist

First of all, consider scheduling an appointment with a pediatric dentist rather than your family dentist. A pediatric dentist's office is often more kid-friendly, with fun colors and plenty of toys to play with in the waiting room. Plus, a pediatric dentist might be a bit more patient with your child and could be more knowledgeable about pediatric dentistry.

2. Use Play to Prepare Your Child

Ahead of time, use creative play to prepare your child for a dental appointment. Consider taking turns role-playing a dental appointment. Also, read books that show the main character going to the dentist or taking care of his or her teeth at home. You and your child can also role-play a dental appointment with your little one's stuffed animals.

3. Do a Trial Run

A day or so before your appointment, consider taking your child into the dental office. You can introduce him or her to the waiting room and even to some of the staff members. This will make the dental office a bit more familiar for your child so that you won't be introducing too many new things at once on the big day.

4. Bring Something Comforting

Bring something comforting along for your child to hold or play with while in the waiting area, such as a favorite stuffed animal or a small, cuddly blanket. Having something familiar close at hand can help keep your child calm and entertained at the same time. It's also a good idea to bring a small snack along in case your child gets hungry -- and grouchy -- before the appointment.

5. Do Something Pleasant Afterward

Tell your child that you will be doing something fun after the dental appointment, such as going out for ice cream or stopping by the park. If your little one has something to look forward to after the appointment, it can make the whole ordeal better.

Following these tips can make your pediatric dentist visit a whole lot easier for your child -- and for you.