Booster shots? Check!
Teeth cleaning? Check!
Regular dental visits are important year-round, but a back-to-school checkup is key in fighting the most common chronic disease found in school-age children: cavities. In fact, dental disease causes children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year.
Prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking and school absences.
Between cookouts, camping trips and everything else on your family’s summer bucket list, it’s easy for school to sneak up on you. Unfortunately, many parents may not think about making that appointment until August, which is a busy time for our office.
Time of day can make or break your child’s appointment. If your child is young, make sure they have napped and are well rested. If your child is usually cranky after waking up, factor that in too.
For older children, avoid cramming in a dentist appointment right after day camp or school. If the child has already been exhausted or had a bad day or had tests, they just don’t have the stamina to make it through the appointment successfully.
If you’ve scheduled back-to-back appointments for your children, there’s a simple way to decide who goes first: Choose the child who’s had the most positive experiences at the dentist. You generally want the ones first who are more successful because the others get to see how it goes.
Feed your child a light meal before the appointment. Avoid feeding them in the waiting room before you see the dentist because there’s all that food in their mouth.
Eating light is also better for a child with a healthy gag reflex. Some children gag a lot just because they gag with everything, but they get older and they get more control over swallowing, kids will gag less.
If your heart races at the very thought of the dentist, your child can probably tell. They will pick up on the parents’ anxiety so try to stay calm and positive.
The younger your kids are, the more you need to be aware of how you’re communicating with them. For example, if your child asks about getting a cavity filled, don’t say, “It will only hurt for a little bit.” Instead, encourage your child to ask the dentist.
If your child gets upset during her visit, the worst thing you can do is swoop them out of the chair and leave. It will make the next visit even harder.
First, assess why your child is acting out. Are they truly afraid, or are they trying to test the situation? They are in an environment they feel they can’t control and that makes them upset, so Dr. Rogers and his staff will try to break it down into small steps. Let Dr. Rogers lead the conversation. Jump in where you think it helps most, while still allowing the dentist and your child to build a good relationship.
Accidents can happen whether your child is in sports camp, gym class or just walking down the street. In case of emergency, make sure your child’s teachers and coaches have all the medical contact information they need – including your dentist’s number. Grab business cards for your wallet, your child’s backpack and your school’s files.
If your child is anxious about visiting our office, feel free to let us know when you make your back to school appointment. We will make sure they feel comfortable and have a great dental experience in our office!