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General Dentistry

How To Help Kids Not be Afraid of The Dentist

June 4, 2019

Dentistry is essential to the proper oral health and overall being of any growing child. With all our necessary equipment that goes into any oral inspection, it’s no wonder that dentistry can be a scary experience for anyone, especially children. There are numerous fears associated with visits to the dentist, and children may have a majority of these angsts. Making bi-annual trips to the dentist shouldn’t be difficult and by detecting and understanding some of the unease that is associated with these endeavors, making trips to the dentist office can be an easier and more enjoyable experience for everyone. Feelings of intimidation and harm are most often associated with getting a tooth pulled or having a cavity filled. It is important to recognize this apprehension early on and assist your youngster in overcoming these phobias. By following the simple steps below, your child can overcome their dread and even learn to love trips to the dentist!  

Prepare Your Child

Making your child aware of the visit is a critical step in insuring their comfort. It is easy for them to feel panicked when an unanticipated expedition is sprung upon them. Allowing your child to have a knowledge of their appointment beforehand makes it possible for you to have an open conversation about their fears and worries rather then placing extreme emotional strain on them in a moment of already high pressure. You might even consider allowing them to assist in picking a day that they feel comfortable attending an appointment and have them participate in scheduling it. This gives them the opportunity to feel as though they have some control in the situation and will feel ready to go. Never tell them how difficult or painful things may be.  Be sure not to project your fears to them.

Set An Example

As in most cases, it's important that the adult is able to set a good example for their kids. Children learn best by following those around them, so it is important that you are aware of the things you do and say regarding your dentistry. If you complain about your upcoming visit, your adolescent will begin to feel the same way. It is important to talk about your experiences in a positive way without going into detail about the procedure. It is also important to set an example of good oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice a day and assisting your child in this process, they will learn the importance of good oral health and can take steps towards preventing cavities in the first place.  

Let The Dentist Talk

Dentists are trained to work with children and often have the vocabulary to accommodate them. Instead of saying words such as “cavity”, “cleaning”, or “drill” they will instead say things like “sugar bug”, “checking your smile”, and “tickle machine”. It is very important to avoid words that would raise your child's anxiety. “Shot”, “instruments”, and other words like this can make your child more nervous, so it is best to steer clear and let the dentist do the informing. The dentist and staff are trained in working with children and will make the experience feel calmer and more enjoyable.

Practice "Dentist" With Your Child

Consider practicing for the dentist office by making it into a game. Pretend that you are the staff at the office and your child is a patient coming in for a visit. Role play the situation of checking them in and walking them back to a dental chair. Let them know they might have to wait a bit for the dentist and show them what the staff might do or talk about while waiting. After that, show them what the dentist might do by counting their teeth, brushing them, or looking with a mirror. Don’t use sharp or scary looking objects, as this might scare the child. Just give a simple overview to show them how easy their experience will be. Allowing your kid to have a small understanding of what a dentist appointment is like will make the whole experience run smoother for you, your child, and even the dentist. If they know how to perform and act, as well as what the dentist will be doing, the trip will be much faster and more pleasant for all of you.

Going to the dentist can raise anxiety and many individuals dread the experience, but by teaching your children about what goes on there, it can seem less intimidating and more exciting. By following the steps above, you can avoid unnecessary fear of the situation and help your child understand the importance of good oral health. You can show them how easy and effortless a trip to the dentist is and help them understand how great it is to have clean teeth!