Crystal Lake, IL Dentist
77 E. Crystal Lake Avenue
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

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Timing Is Everything

Time of day can make or break your child’s appointment.  It’s important for a child of any age who’s used to a nap to not schedule during naptime. If your child is always cranky after waking up, factor that in too. 

For older children, avoid cramming in a dentist appointment right after day camp or school.  Not all kids have the energy to do that. 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. 
 

Make One Child a Model

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.  Every child is going to be a little bit different in their temperament about how they approach a visit.  You generally want the ones first who are more successful because the others get to see how it goes. 
 

A Hungry Child Is Not a Happy Patient

Feed your child a light meal before the appointment.  Hungry people are grouchy people. You want them to be comfortable. Eating light is also better for a child with a healthy gag reflex.  Some children gag a lot just because they gag with everything.  As they age and they get more control over swallowing, kids tend to gag less. 

Bonus points if your child brushes before an appointment (we have disposable toothbrushes in our office rest rooms for patient use).  
 

Leave Your Anxiety at the Door

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.  With any child, you want them to be able to feel successful at accomplishing a good visit and link that positive feeling with the idea that their teeth are strong and healthy so they have that message going forward for the rest of their lives. 
 

Keep Cool If Your Child Won’t Cooperate

If your child gets upset during her visit, the worst thing you can do is swoop them out of the chair and leave.  The next visit is going to be harder.  You still have to help them get through part of the visit. 

First, assess why your child is acting out. Are they truly afraid, or are they trying to test the situation?  One of the reasons I think a 4, 5 or 6-year-old gets upset is because they think they’re going to be asked to do something they can’t be successful at. They’re in an environment they feel they can’t control and that makes them upset, so we try to break it down into small steps.

Then, work as a team with your dentist to keep the visit going. Let the dentist lead the conversation. Jump in where you think it helps most, while still allowing the dentist and your child to build a good relationship.  Give the dentist every opportunity to turn the visit around. 

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