If you’ve sat through dental appointments with your young children, you know patience, compassion and kindness go a long way toward normalizing the experience for them.
Dr. Victoria Willis, known affectionately by her patients and staff at the Campbell River Dental Centre as “Dr. Vicky,” says making children feel comfortable during their first visits is an important way to begin teaching them about dental health and its benefits.
“Kids are curious and they want to know what’s happening,” she says. “Once you get them comfortable with what you’re doing, you can kind of team up so that it just feels natural to them.”
It’s never too early to start a routine
Most infants’ first teeth come in around six months and more arrive over the next two years. Dr. Willis starts seeing young patients at that age, and offers tips for parents to encourage children to have a positive experience at the dentist:
- Get them used to brushing Giving a baby or toddler milk or juice at bedtime without brushing their teeth afterward isn’t a good idea. Start with a soft toothbrush early and make brushing a regular routine for you, and later, for them.
- Dentists and hygienists are great coaches Hearing ideas from a professional can help you teach your children good oral health care habits that can last a lifetime.
- Flossing is easy and inexpensive Starting kids early in the habit of flossing their teeth regularly can pay dividends down the road in the form of potentially event-free checkups
- Don’t transfer your anxiety As your children get older and become more aware, it’s helpful if you don’t say too much about a trip to the dentist beforehand, Dr. Willis says, especially if there’s dental work needed. “If you’re nervous about it, your child is going to feel that.”
Good chairside manner also appreciated by adults
If you’ve spent much time in the chair with hygienists and/or the dentist, you know kindness and compassion are also important as an adult patient. Dr. Willis, who has a talent for working with anxious patients of all ages, says you’re more likely to make regular dental checkups and care a part of your health regime if you feel welcomed and supported when you come in.
“I’m very pleased to be a part of a great team here and I’m grateful to be able to provide dental care to everyone at every age,” she says. “I love to help people have nice smiles.”
If you’re someone who avoids the dentist due to anxiety, or are otherwise looking for a new dentist, Dr. Willis invites you to stop by Campbell River Dental Centre on Dogwood Street, or call them at 250-287-7343, to find out how they can work with you on a program of good dental health.