A fear of the dentist is not uncommon, particularly among young kids who feel nervous lying back in a chair where they can see lots of dental instruments and hear unfamiliar noises. But this fear can become a problem if it hinders parents from taking their kids to the dentist on a regular basis.
Developing good oral hygiene habits starts young, and keeping dental appointments is a big part of that process.
If your child experiences dental anxiety, follow the following steps to help him or her feel more at ease during their next visit:
To Curb Dental Anxiety, Begin Early
The earlier your child visits the dentist for the first time, the less anxious they’ll be. When they start young, they’ll be more likely to be curious instead of nervous. This will also give them time to get used to their dentist and accustomed to what they can expect. They’ll grow to understand that the dentist isn’t scary and is only there to help them take care of their teeth.
Leave Out The Details
As you prepare your child for a visit, especially for the first visit, keep the explanation simple. If you include too many details, it might raise lots of questions about potential treatments that they might not even require.
Keep a cheerful, positive demeanor when discussing an upcoming dental visit. Avoid making false promises that additional treatment won’t be needed. In the event that more work actually is needed, your child might lose trust in their dentist and in you.
Avoid “Scary” Words
Be careful about using words such as “hurt”, “shot”, or “painful” when discussing the dentist with your kids or within earshot. Give the dental staff the opportunity to introduce terms and words to your children to ease them into the situation.
Many dentists will tell your child that they are simply going to count their teeth and check their smile. Encourage your child by using phrases about their “clean, healthy teeth” to help promote a positive expectation.
Talk About The Importance Of Good Oral Hygiene
Starting when they are young, teach your child that it’s important to take care of their teeth so they can continue to eat delicious food and have a happy smile.
Explain the need for teeth brushing and visiting the dentist. Help your child understand that a dentist is there to help keep cavities away.
Keep A Calm Demeanor
Even with all the prep, it’s normal for young children to wiggle, act anxious, cry, or whine when they visit the dentist for the first time. The dentist is a stranger after all. Calm dental anxiety by remaining calm yourself and not reacting to tears and whining with worried or frantic responses.
Find An Experienced Pediatric Dentist
One of the best ways to calm dental anxiety in your child is by taking them to a dentist who has experience caring for children. Our staff understands that kids are often nervous to go to the dentist and we are here to help ease their fears while taking care of their teeth.
Feel free to visit our offices ahead of your visit and meet our professional, caring staff. You can even bring your child in ahead of time, to see the fun and enjoyable waiting room we have set up just for kids. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about your child’s visit.