Last Wednesday, we took Neveah to the dentist for a cleaning. This was her second time actually. The first time we took her the dentist back in April the dentist couldn’t do much because Neveah was scared and would not hold still. She did so much better this time, though. I’m very proud of her.
1.) Find a good pediatric dental office.
It will make the world a difference. Neveah felt very comfortable going in because they had all kinds of toys and other things to play with.
2.) Set the example
Once we got called into the back, the dental hygienist instructed Neveah to sit on the chair. At first she didn’t want to, but I showed her how the other kids in the room were also sitting back in the chair . She calmed down a bit and reluctantly sat in the chair. Once she sat down and laid back, the dental hygienist asked Neveah what she wanted to watch. She choose spongebob of course. (People always ask me if Neveah likes dolls and princess things, but Neveah is not quite at that age where she does. She actually has this irrational fear of dolls. It’s kind of good though, the whole Disney Frozen thing is quite annoying IMO.)
3.) Have the hygienist show them all the tools and allow them to touch them.
For example, the hygienist showed Neveah the X-Ray camera she was going to use to take pictures of her teeth and let her touch it. Then I held her hand and showed her how she needed to open her mouth and bite down, so we could get good x-ray shots of teeth. She wasn’t too happy about it, but she did an awesome job at listening to me.
Once they get started on the flossing and dental cleaning part make sure that they’re laying back as they should be and hold their hand. Neveah laid back and watched Spongebob while she got her teeth flossed and brushed. I explained to her how she needed to open her mouth really wide and hold still. We let her have little breaks in between too because she kept saying her mouth was too tired and she would close it.
Definitely give them some type of reward for surviving the dentist because that’s a big accomplishment for a toddler!
Finally, don’t worry if your toddler doesn’t do well at the dentist. Neveah didn’t do so good the first time either. It takes time for them to adjust to something new and it’s scary for them. You have to be understanding and helpful. I let Neveah know it was okay, and that mommy was here and was very proud of her every time she told me she was scared. She did better than I ever could have imagined this second time around. The staff was shocked at how well she did as well. I’m very proud of my daughter 🙂