The other day E was pushing her trolley when it went out from under her causing her mouth to hit the handlebar. It was horrible–she chipped a front tooth and the tooth next to it was pushed back. Due to it being an emergency, I didn’t have time to prepare E for the dentist as I normally would.
So what did we do to make the experience a positive one?
-Explained and introduced a basic itinerary. We would check-in at the front desk and then we’d wait in the waiting room. When it’s her turn, the hygenist will get us and take us to our room…
-Bring items of comfort.
•sensory item (theirs has bumps and lines similar to their meditation tracers).
•noise reducing headphones
-Explore the room. We took the time to see where we would be sitting, the dentist, what items were in the room and what would be used during our visit.
-Find the bathroom (a safe quiet place if overwhelmed and, for some, water is calming).
-Above all: remember, you are your child’s advocate. I ask that the dentist/hygienist explain what will be done before it’s done, have them ask permission, and respect the “no”. Respecting the “no” means that we don’t force a procedure; we step back and take the time to explain in a way that she is best comfortable with.
We also let her see and, when able, hold/touch/operate the equipment that is to be used. “Do it to mama” first is always an option, too.
I also remind her that if she’s uncomfortable to let us know. (This isn’t done just now, but also done by respecting her every day.)
How do you prepare your little one for the dentist?