Any child, regardless of age, might experience anxiety or panic at the mere mention of a dentist appointment. Fear of the dentist can develop at a young age. Although dental anxiety is not something that is innate in children, certain events or experiences in their lives can cause it. Kids’ dental anxiety is frequently brought on by their parents’ dread of the dentist or their own negative dental experiences.
There are actually a high number of grownups who are utterly terrified of seeing the dentist. When you have a child who is terrified of the dentist and you want to calm his or her anxieties, it can be difficult if you happen to be one of those people who are afraid of the dentist yourself. Here are a few strategies you can use to lessen your child’s fear of the dentist and make their visits there seem more enjoyable, regardless of whether you’re terrified of going to the dentist yourself or not. Keep reading to learn these important tips to ease your child’s fear of the dentist.
1. Take Your Child to the Dentist From An Early Age
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends introducing your child to a dental expert as early in life as you can as one of the best methods to help them develop a comfort level with visiting one. Some professionals advise bringing your child to the dentist as early as age 1. Your child will become more accustomed to and at ease with the regular visits if you give them a “dental home” at a young age. They can become accustomed to the sights, sounds, and smells of the office. The sooner they become accustomed to going to the dentist, the sooner they will realize that it’s just a regular checkup.
2. Watch Your Choice of Words and Keep Things Simple
Keep your descriptions of the trip to the dentist as simple as you can whenever you are discussing it with your child. You don’t want to overwhelm a young child with information and details they may find overwhelming. Keeping things simple and uncomplicated will make your kid feel less perplexed and/or anxious.
In order to avoid associating unfavorable words with the dental visit, you should also be mindful of the language you use. Never describe or explain a trip to the dentist’s office using the words “hurt,” “pain,” or “shot.”
3. Don’t Tell Them Your Scary Dental Stories
It’s crucial to refrain from discussing any unpleasant or painful dental experiences you’ve had in the past with your child. Some parents do this in an effort to “scare” their kids into caring for their teeth. To encourage their child to brush their teeth, parents may, for instance, mention how, when they were younger, they had to have four cavities filled at the same time because they neglected to brush correctly. Most of the time, all this will do is make your youngster more fearful of their upcoming dental appointment. Remember, your experiences may not be the same as their experiences will be, so it’s best to allow your child to go into it with a blank emotional canvas and allow them to paint their own experience. Our minds are powerful and can create our realities how we choose them to, so it’s best to be mindful of this and allow our children to create their own reality based on their own experience of any situation.
4. Do Not Use Bribery
Bribing your child to go to the dentist may seem like a “simple” method to soothe them, but it’s not a good idea. The focus will be taken off the notion that good oral health is a reward in and of itself since kids will begin to expect a reward each time they visit the dentist.
Additionally, promising a sweet treat after a dentist stresses the importance of maintaining clean, healthy teeth by avoiding sugary treats that can result in cavities may send the wrong message. Instead, commend your child for their bravery and good behavior after the visit is finished. Encourage them occasionally by surprising them with a sticker or a little toy.
5. Stay With Your Child
No matter how well you have planned for this moment, your child will probably feel a bit uneasy when he or she sits down in that large dental chair for the first time. By remaining close by, you can help him keep calm. Most dentists accept and encourage parents to accompany their children during appointments since having you around can make your youngster feel more at ease about getting a checkup alone.
6. Emphasize the Significance of Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene
Your child will be more receptive when you explain the significance of regular dentist visits to their dental health if you emphasize the value of proper oral hygiene to them and make it a habit in their daily lives.
Teach your child that going to the dentist is something they must do, not something they can choose to do and that the dentist will take care of their teeth so they are sturdy enough for them to eat with. Additionally, you might mention how the dentist works to prevent cavities and guarantees that his patients will have a bright smile for years to come.
7. Take Them Along to Your Appointments
Take your child along if you can to your own appointment. Allowing them to observe you sitting calmly and unbothered during your procedure will enable them to realize they have nothing to fear as well. After all, parents are their children’s biggest role models, so this is one of the most effective methods in eliminating your child’s fear of going to the dentist.
Please note that we do provide all four levels of sedation at our offices in order to ensure your child does not feel any pain or discomfort from any type of dental procedure they may require.
Your child’s oral health along with their comfort is extremely important to us, and taking your little one for regular dental visits not only saves you money in the long run by avoiding the progression of dental decay, cavities or other ailments, but it also makes your child’s experience much more comfortable when they see a familiar face every time they need a dental checkup. We hope this article was helpful and some of these tips help ease your child’s fear of visiting the dentist. Call us at 801-948-8880 to book an appointment for your child today!