As a parent, you know the importance of going to the dentist. Chances are, you overcame your dentophobia many years ago, and now helping your child through theirs seems like a daunting task. Well, you’re not alone.
Nearly 20% of school-age kids are scared of the dentist. If your child is in that group, don’t fret. There are several ways to ensure that you ease their fear of going to the dentist.
To calm your child’s dental anxiety, follow these tips:
1. Explain the Importance of Dental Hygiene
One way to reduce your child’s dental anxiety is to explain to them the importance of good oral hygiene. At their young age, they don’t understand that going to the dentist isn’t just something that they have to do because the grown-ups say so.
Take the time to explain to them what a dentist does and how essential it is for them to visit dentists regularly. Once your kid has a better understanding, it should help them with their fear of going to the dentist.
If you were ever afraid of the dentist, this is a good time to tell them about your experience. Explain how you were once scared and you now realize there was nothing to be afraid of.
2. Offer Them Comfort
If your child is experiencing dentophobia, consider bringing a special toy with them for comfort. Before they go into the dentist’s chair, consider using their favorite toy to demonstrate what will happen during their appointment. This will help them feel a sense of comfort and they won’t be as nervous to have their own teeth examined and cleaned.
3. Start Them Early
It’s a good idea to start your child’s dental visits early. Chances are, if they’re very young they won’t be scared of the dentist because they’re not aware of what’s going on.
However, dental anxiety might kick in later if they’re older and more aware of what’s happening during their appointments. By starting them early, it helps to form a positive connection with the dentist at a young age.
Most likely those positive experiences will continue to follow them and help to mold their perception of the dentist.
4. Speak Positively About the Dentist
Another way to ease your child’s fear of the dentist is to speak positively about the dentist. Try to stay away from trigger words like pain or drill, or anything that will make them feel apprehensive.
Try explaining to them how wonderful and clean their teeth will feel after their appointment, how nice the staff is, and other positive conversations. It’ll help them not to associate the dentist with unpleasant words or thoughts.
5. Choose a Pediatric Dentist
The best way to relieve your child’s fear of the dentist is to take them to a pediatric dentist’s office. The staff there can cater to their needs, and they are equipped to handle children who are scared of the dentist.
Not only that, but the atmosphere in a pediatric dentist is better for a child. It’s usually decorated in an appealing manner and there are toys and other things in the office that the kids can play with before their appointment.
By putting your child in a fun and calming environment before their appointment, it helps them to look at the dentist as an exciting place and not a scary place.
More than likely, if they become occupied with playing before they go back into the dentist’s chair, they may forget all about their dental anxiety.
6. Schedule a Pre Appointment Consultation
If your child is having a severe case of dentophobia, consider taking them to a pre-appointment consultation. By doing so, you can help to ease your child’s fears prior to their actual teeth cleaning.
It allows them the chance to get acquainted with the dentist and get a feel for what it’s like to have a dental appointment. They can go in and talk without the pressure of having to go through with the actual procedure.
Again, this ties into the previous tip of taking your child to a pediatric dentist. If the office is decorated in a manner that is appealing to children, seeing that type of atmosphere might make your kid excited about their appointment.
If they go in and see a place with toys and books, they may look forward to the actual visit.
7. Plan a Pretend Visit
Another good option is to have a pretend dentist visit at home. You can play the dentist and go through the routine that they would at the dental office.
Put a bib on your child’s neck, lay them back in a chair, talk to them, and clean their teeth.
Although you won’t have professional teeth cleaning tools, as you brush their teeth, explain to them that the tools the dentist will use are designed to get their teeth really, really clean.
Help Ease Your Child’s Dentophobia With the Right Dental Office
If you’re looking for a dental office that can help your child cope with their dentophobia, Colleyville Pediatric Dentistry is it. We offer a variety of services like fillings, crowns, and regular teeth cleanings.
Our team of dentists will see to it that your child is well taken care of.
If you have any questions, call us at 817-541-9494 or schedule an appointment online.
We look forward to putting a smile on your child’s face soon!