May 10 2019
Helping Your Kids Overcome the Fear of Seeing the Dentist
Does screaming, kicking, and crying sound familiar to you? Yes, that’s your kid when they realise it’s time to go to the dentist!
From a child’s viewpoint, a trip to the dentist is a scary event. They need to lie on a chair, in an unfamiliar room, filled with unfamiliar noises and objects, while a stranger prods cold, metal, and unusual instruments into their mouths. It’s no wonder they get nervous!
Helping to ease future visits for your child is important so that they are comfortable and more relaxed. Here are four tips that could help you and your little one:
Tip #1: Start Them Young
The earlier your child visits the dental clinic, the better. This helps them get familiar with the environment as soon as possible. According to Rhea Haugseth, D.M.D., President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, “This will provide your child with a dental home where all his or her needs will be taken care of.”
Tip #2: Keep it Simple
When you are prepping your child for their first dental consultation, try not to include too many details. Too much information might cause unnecessary anxiety, so just keep things simple. Don’t forget to keep a positive attitude when discussing the upcoming visit but avoid giving false hope. Avoid saying that everything will be fine because if the child ends up needing treatment, he might lose trust in both the dentist and you and things can get pretty difficult from that point onwards
Tip #3: Prepare for some Fussing
Parents, it’s perfectly normal and age-appropriate if your young child starts to cry, whine, wiggle or not want to be examined by a stranger. Remember to stay calm and trust the dentist and the staff, as they are experienced professionals who know how to work with children. Allow them to guide you too. Sometimes they might ask you to keep your distance or might need your help to hold your little one’s hand to provide comfort or prevent any sudden grabbing of dental instruments.
Tip #4: Avoid Rewarding with Candy
Many dental professionals strongly disagree with promising your child a special treat if they behave well at the dentist. Besides that, promising candy at a dentist’s office? It definitely sends the wrong message about having clean, healthy teeth too! Instead of promising a sugary treat, you can praise your child’s good behavior, and offer a toy or sticker as a form of encouragement.