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Family 411: Taking kids to the dentist

How to make children's visits to the dentist less stressful (WSYX)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) - Taking children to the dentist can be stressful, but there are some things to try to make the visit easier.

Dr. Josephine Strickler's Columbus-area dentist office is known for being a child-friendly environment. Says parent Mary Schmidt, "I think when you are more relaxed then the kids see that and they 're going to be more relaxed as well."

Zoe Schmidt is ready for her exam. While sitting in the chair may feel strange, dentists say kids take their cues for their parents. Experts say it's important for children to find a dental home by age one. "As soon as the first tooth comes in definitely it's already going in to the mouth with some kind of massager or actual tooth brush," said Dr. Jo Jo.

This dentist has a video playing for a distraction while Zoe gets a cavity filled. Dr. Jo jo shows her how the procedure will feel on her fingernail.

Some dentists say if you can pretend a visit at home to ease your child's concerns such as "the fear of unknown. Fear of unknown. What is going on. What is going to happen."

Many dentists offer incentives for a good visit. The prize drawer is a favorite. Zoe's family also plans a fun activity after the appointment.

Dr. Jo Jo says she loves working with children and helping them stay healthy. Her number one piece of advice to moms and dads is to stay calm. "Let it be fun. Let it be fun and don't hype it up , just let it be a normal thing."

Parents often withhold food until after the dentist appointment. Experts say it's a good idea to give your child a light, healthy snack before their visit.

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