Check-ups And Smiles. Preparing Your Child For Trips To The Dentist
Posted July 28th, 2018 by Dr. Melanie Love Lee
It’s not unusual for kids to be anxious about a trip to the dentist – especially for their first visit. Unfortunately, dental anxiety sometimes lingers into adulthood. Several studies have reported that up to 22% of Americans actually avoid seeing a dentist due to fear or anxiety about dental care. As you might expect, that’s bad for both their dental health and their overall health.
Fortunately, there are strategies that help build confidence in preparation for trips to the dentist; one of the most important is choosing the right dentist. The manner in which the doctor and staff interact with your child can make all the difference. This includes:
- Their attentiveness to your child’s comfort
- How effectively they listen to your child, and communicate what’s going to happen
- How they introduce unfamiliar equipment
- The pace at which they administer care
The environment is important too. A frantic, stressful environment will amplify a patient’s anxiety. Alternatively, an organized and friendly dental team will encourage a positive dental experience.
At Monokian Dentistry, we are committed to ensuring that our young patients have good experiences from the very start. Parents tell us it’s one of the things they appreciate most about our practice. But the groundwork for successful visits can be done at home. Here are five tips that will help ensure a good experience for your child, and for you too:
- Start Early. An early start ensures early detection, and exposure to the dental office before there are issues will build a positive foundation for future visits. The American Dental Association recommends that children have their first dental visit within six months after their first baby tooth appears, and no later than their first birthday. However, we have found that most children are successfully cooperative for dental care at age two.
- Encourage Active Participation. Excellent dental care requires the full participation of the patient. Giving your child an achievable task may help them feel more empowered. Try having them practice opening wide so they’ll be prepared when the dentist is ready to “count their teeth” or make their teeth “sparkling clean”.
- Trust The Process. In our experience, young patients are able to adjust more quickly to this new environment when their parents give them some space (think first day of school). We will sometimes ask a parent to join their child during an exam, but in most cases it is better for the child if their parent remains on standby in our reception area. Our goal at Monokian Dentistry is to develop confidence and encourage independence so that children can carry it with them into adulthood.
- Be Patient. A child’s first trip to the dentist can be an overwhelming experience. The whirling sound of drills, the bright lights, strangers peering into your mouth… it’s a lot to take in. Some children are comfortable from the moment they walk in the office. It may take others a visit or two to adjust to the environment. Our approach is to proceed at a pace that your child can tolerate, and avoid going beyond their comfort zone.
- Don’t Overthink. It’s normal to have a little anxiety about your child’s first visit. However, if you become very anxious it could trigger stress in your child. Also, overemphasizing an upcoming visit can make it seem like a bigger deal than it really is. Stay relaxed, and your child is more likely to stay relaxed too.
We are truly a family dental practice, not only because we serve patients of all ages, but also because we treat each patient as though they are part of our family. Together we can help your child be less anxious and make dentist visits something your child looks forward to.
Our Exams Are More Comprehensive Than Most. Here’s One Reason Why.
Posted January 28, 2018 by Dr. Dave Monokian
Many of our patients are surprised by how many things we evaluate during their dental checkup. It’s true - our examinations are more comprehensive than you‘ll find at most dental practices. Ours include oral cancer screenings, TMJ evaluations, airway evaluations, and more. We do this not only to provide you with extraordinary dental care, but also because of our commitment to your overall health. Our approach takes a little more time, but we think it’s well worth the effort.
We saw this happen with Charlotte, a 7-year-old patient of mine who recently came in for an examination. One of the things we look for in our comprehensive exams is evidence of teeth grinding, an indicator of airway obstructions in the pediatric population. Charlotte’s teeth showed signs of grinding. The exam also revealed that her tonsils were so enlarged they were affecting her breathing.
After some discussion with Charlotte and her parents it was evident that she was snoring and probably losing sleep. She swims, dances, and practices gymnastics, and I suspected her stamina might be affected as well. Even more concerning was the fact that her airways issues might lead to sleep apnea, and the myriad of health problems that can accompany it. I referred them to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist who has a lot of experience treating pediatric airway issues.
There is more to Charlotte’s story, which was published last Thursday in the Courier Post. See the full article here.
Despite some twists and turns early on, Charlotte’s story has a happy ending. It’s an example of how our uniquely comprehensive exams can make a difference, and why we wouldn’t do it any other way.