Pediatric Dentistry

How to prepare a child before visiting the dentist

How should you prepare a young child for a dental visit?

The fear of encountering something new is something that can be found in every child, and the reactions may vary, such as crying or trying to run away. However, if a child has the opportunity to learn or is prepared beforehand, it can help reduce the fear. Therefore, when taking a child to see the dentist, preparation is key for both parents and the child, ensuring that the dental visit goes smoothly.

Preparation for Parents:

Little cute baby girl cleaning her teeth with a toothbrush in the bathroom
  1. Avoid using dental care as a threat to make the child afraid, such as saying that if they misbehave, the dentist will pull out their teeth.
  2. It is advisable to have at least two parents present, with one attending to the child while the other engages in conversation with the dentist.
  3. Warning!!! Do not make promises about things you think you won’t follow through, such as coming for a dental check-up only.
  4. Do not show fear or anxiety about taking the child to the dentist.
  5. Whether the child agrees or not to let the dentist examine them, leave it to the dentist’s expertise. Dentists have their ways of persuading children.
  6. Prepare essential items for the child, such as spare clothes, a warm jacket, disposable diapers, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.

Preparation for Children:

1. Before visiting the dentist, find storybooks about tooth brushing, dental visits, or role-play scenarios where the child visits the dentist to familiarize them with the idea. This can be done 1-2 weeks prior.

2. Ensure the child is in good physical health, without illness, excessive coughing, runny nose, or oral sores.

3. Schedule the appointment in the morning when the child is in a good mood and arrive early to allow them to become familiar with the surroundings.

4. Have the child eat a meal at least 3 hours before the dental appointment to prevent nausea and vomiting. Ensure they use the bathroom before entering the dentist’s room.

Document References:

1.Dr. Chutima Amornpipatkul. (2017). “Children Fear Dentists.” Faculty of Dentistry, Mahidol University.

2. Dr. Nrawanlap Chiewwit. (2017). “Dental Procedures in Children: Is it really scary! (2).” Dentistry Department, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital.

3. Thai Pediatric Dentistry Association. (August 2, 2015).

Acknowledgments for information from Mahidol University:
Dr. Saipsi Aryasuntiwong Dentistry Department, Siriraj Hospital

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