What to say to take your child to the dentist?

DON’T LIE. Be truthful. Most likely your child has complained about some tooth pain. Tell him, you are taking him to a dentist, he will check and give you some medicines.

If your child is over 4 years and you are visiting a dentist, specially if it for consultation, take him along. He can observe and have a eye-witness experience. This experience makes it easier for him to be less scared about undergoing a dental consultation later.

He will be scared. Don’t hide anything. Don’t scare him with threats of ‘doctor will give injection’.

I have seen parents threatening, bribing and even hitting the child. None of these work. The child will refuse to come the next time.

If some procedure is required, like pulpectomy, extraction or filling, ask your dentist to explain the procedure to you. You can explain the procedure to your child over the next few days, before you bring him back. This helps the child to be prepared. Also, when the procedure happens as explained, it builds trust.

What about injections? Do you tell your child if he will need injection during the procedure? Ask your dentist first. Some times a procedure can be performed under topical anaesthesia, like a gel or a spray and injection may not be required.

What if injection is required?

This is a tricky one. There is no one single advise to every parent.

  • If your child is not afraid of injection, let him know.
  • If your child is below 3 years and afraid of injection, prepare him for the procedure but let the dentist handle the injection part.
  • If your child is between 3 to 5 years and afraid of injection, prepare him for the procedure, let him know injections may be required but tell the child, the dentist will discuss it with him.
  • If your child is above 5 years and afraid of injection, prepare him for the procedure and for injections.

If you have any doubt, speak to your dentist before discussing the dental appointment with your child.

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