Ways of Helping Your Kids Overcome the Fear of the Dentist
It is a must to take kids to the dentist in order for them to maintain healthy teeth and good oral hygiene habits. However, visiting the dentist can be scary to a child, asking him to lie on a chair, in a room he has never seen before, which is surrounded by unusual objects and noises, while an unfamiliar person pokes cold, strange instruments inside his mouth. In addition, since your child’s teeth will continue to fall out then grow, he will have to visit the dentist at least 10 times before going to kindergarten school. For dental visits to be more relaxed for your child and the dentist, consider the following tips that may help ease the tension:
Start Them Young
It would best to let a child visit the dentist early in life. This way, your child will learn to be familiar with the dental clinic, where all his dental needs will be cared for, from cleaning to emergencies. The first visit should take place when the child is one year old, or when the first tooth emerges.
Keep It Simple
When visiting the dentist for the first time, refrain from adding many details. This might raise additional questions, and giving more info about further treatment – such as a needed tooth filling – might cause needless anxiety. Maintain a positive outlook when talking about a forthcoming visit, but never give false hope. Do not say that everything will be okay, because when your child would need treatment, he might lose confidence in you and the dentist.
Be Careful With Your Words
Do not mention the words with H (hurt), P (pain) or S (shot) with children. The staff has their way of introducing dental words to kids to help them go through stressful situations. Instead, bring up positive phrases such as “clean, strong and healthy teeth” so the visit could be enjoyable and pleasant instead of frightening.
Play Dentist to Your Child before Visiting
Prior to the first dental visit, do some role playing with your child, pretending to be the dentist, while he/she is the patient. You will also need a toothbrush. Count your child’s teeth starting from 1 or A. Do not make drilling noises or sounds of other instruments. Show the way a dentist might look at her teeth to check them by holding up a mirror. Let your child use a toothbrush to clean the teeth of her doll or stuffed toy. This way, the child will get more familiar with the routine to be comfortable during the actual visit.
Do Not Relate Your Own Experiences
There are parents who make the mistake of taking along their children to their dental appointment. Some parents feel anxious when they visit their dentist without knowing it, and somehow, this anxiety is felt by their child. Talking about extractions and root canals may cause apprehension, especially since the child may not need such procedures. Bringing your child to a sterile clinic for adults gives a wrong notion about dentists, while majority of pediatric dental clinics are relatively child-friendly with their kiddy shows, video games and pleasant pictures.