1. Check the place out
Before her first cleaning, take her to check out the dentist’s office, perhaps with an older sibling. Keep the mood fun and positive. Ask staff if you can let her take a ride on the chair or meet Mr. Thirsty (the suction tool).
2. Spare the details
Right before her first visit, tell her the dentist will be looking in her mouth and counting her teeth. Counting is a familiar, non-scary concept. The idea of the dentist cleaning the “sugar bugs” can freak out some kids.
3. Keep your fears to yourself
It’s really common for adults to be scared of the dentist. Fear is learned, so keep your own dental anxieties to yourself.
4. Throw on some shades
That bright light the dentist shines on your kid’s mouth might bother her eyes and could make her want to bolt. Bring along a pair of fun sunglasses, or call ahead to see if your dentist already provides them.
5. Let the older sibling go first
Give your little the chance to watch your older one get a cleaning without any troubles; this may help her figure out that nothing bad happens in the chair.
6. Give the reward first
Many dentists have a treasure box of toys that kids can pick from at the end of the cleaning. If your kid is seriously panicking, considering asking the dentist or hygienist if he can pick a treasure before getting in the chair. This can distract your kid from what’s happening in her mouth, and set a better mood for the cleaning.