First Trip to the Dentist

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First Trip to the Dentist

July 20, 2013

Relax Your Child and Yourself for the Dentist Appointment

dentistFor some children, no matter how much preparation you provide, they are still anxious about new activities. Many children find the idea of visiting the dentist to be scary, especially because they tend to lump the dentist in the same category as the doctor. If you have a child who is especially sensitive and fearful, there are a few relaxation techniques that work well. These techniques can help relax your child for stressful events, like visiting the dentist:

  1. Lavender Soothes the Soul: Essential lavender oil is incredibly relaxing. For centuries, lavender has been used to help people manage emotional events because it lowers the levels of cortisol, which creates stress in the body. If you put a drop or two under your child’s nose before going to the dentist, you will notice your child’s calmness return. If you use lavender oil at home, your child will associate the smell with the comforts of home, which will also drive her stress levels back down.
  2. Safe Signal: Most adults know that it is difficult to speak while at the dentist. Children may begin to panic when a stranger is working in their mouths, so giving your child a safe hand signal will let the dentist and hygienist know when to provide a break. It is important to let the dentist know about the signal. Most children simply find comfort in having a handy tool like a hand signal at their disposal and most children are very happy to realize that they never had to use the signal at all. The signal brings a sense of control to the situation, which empowers children and actually encourages relaxation.
  3. Deep Breathing: Children who are especially sensitive to new experiences need to learn how to breathe deeply. The easiest way to do this is to tell you child to put her hand on her belly and to breathe in so deeply that her belly makes her hand go up and down. Shifting the thoughts to the belly and hand will take your child’s thoughts off of the dentist appointment. Deep breathing like this is an excellent tool for children to use in any stressful situation.
  4. Watch the Tube: In the modern age of relaxation dentistry, many dentists have gone high-tech and have added televisions to their exam rooms. When patients have a television show to watch, they find themselves much more relaxed. If your dentist has one, ask if your child can use that room and if a favorite show can be playing as your child walks into the exam room. Your child will feel so special knowing that the dentist office personnel knew which show to have on especially for him.
  5. Bring Something to Squeeze: A stress ball, plush animal, or other stress-relieving object can also make the dentist office visit better. Your child should know about this object and should have used it for other events before the first dentist’s office visit. Your child might be able to use this during times when stress levels are higher and he needs something to help him calm down. Many people feel calm when they have something they can hold in their hands.

The key to creating a stress-free environment for the first dentist visit is to be able to make the dentist office seem safe and calm. It is also important to introduce relaxation techniques before the office visit so your child can feel the sensation of being relaxed and your child can learn to use the techniques before the visit.

About the contributors:  Aaron and Jennifer Schulman are the loving parents of 3 beautiful girls.  They are currently preparing the youngest for her first dental visit.  The whole family is involved and now the little one can’t wait for her turn.  Aaron currently works in the dental industry on the Advisory Board for 5th Avenue Acquisitions.  5th Avenue helps dentists who are asking, “how do I sell my dental practice and get what I deserve for it?”

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