I love going to the dentist. I have always loved going to the dentist.
I didn’t know people hated the dentist until I got older.
I didn’t have a cavity until I was 25. As a kid,visiting the dentist meant getting my teeth cleaned, listening to Dr. Faught whistle while he checked my teeth, getting a new toothbrush and probably a Royal Burger lunch with my Mom. The dentist was always a positive experience.
My husband has a whole different version of the dentist. For him, visiting the dentist as a kid meant cavities, pain and money.
Now that my husband and I are both self employed I truly appreciate all the people who don’t have dental coverage. It’s an expensive necessity that I wish was covered by OHIP, but that’s a whole other conversation and blog.
I started taking my kids to the dentist when they were about 3 years old, but I did bring them with me to my checkup before they went so they knew what to expect. My daughter and son have their Dad’s teeth. They’ve both had their fair share of fillings. I was so scared for my son to get a filling because he’s anxious about everything.
We had a plan and thankfully it worked. Here’s what worked for us to make the dentist fun, whether it’s a check up or a filling:
- SHARING: I talk to my kids A LOT. I share my stories. I tell them stories about when I went to the dentist. I tell them lots of kids and ADULTS are afraid, but I love it. It’s OK to feel whatever you are feeling, just tell me about it, because everything is less scary once we talk about it.
- SIBLING POWER: My oldest shared her dentist stories with her brothers. She told them what to expect and what a filling feels like.
- REASSURANCE: I assured them they aren’t BAD if they have a cavity. Even the nicest people get cavities. Don’t beat yourself up about it, make sure you brush and floss properly and you will be alright. Listen to the dentist and do what he/she tells you!
- GROUP POWER: We all go together. We visit the dentist at the same time. Everyone is doing it, it’s what we do, so just do it.
- PREP THE HYGIENIST & DENTIST: I told the hygienist and dentist my son was anxious. They were fabulous! Make sure you have a kid friendly dentist and hygienist!! It makes a HUGE difference. The dentist made them part of the process. He asked them to hold some of the equipment and explained what he was doing.
- TV: They did NOT have TV screens at the dentist when I was a kid. They are so great for kids. They open their mouth and zone out.
- A REWARD: The folks at our dentist always give a treat from the “treasure chest”. The kids love it.
- FOOD: If we don’t have freezing we usually get lunch or a snack after.
Eventually visiting the dentist becomes an experience or a ritual and now my kids love it.
The key is making it positive even when you don’t get great news. It’s not a pass or fail type thing, just learning.
One of the worst experiences I had at the dentist was when my daughter was small. She was only 5 years old and she had six cavities.
The hygienist was really nasty about it. She insisted it was my fault and that I must feed my kids sugar and junk. I was livid. We are a healthy home and nutrition is really important to us, I took her comments personally and I was really upset.
Was I doing something wrong? Turns out my daughter did need to improve her brushing technique but above that she just has cavity prone teeth. My daughter and I both cried then I phoned the dentist office to explain what a bad experience we had. They were very understanding, apologetic and corrected the situation with some gift certificates and kind words.
Patrick Segura, the Dental Hygienist from Kawartha Dental Clinic giving Marcello a good cleaning
Good luck at the dentist. I hope it goes well for you. Just sing this song before you go;)