Many children are afraid to go to the dentist. In some children, it is just an inherent fear of the unknown, and in others, it stems from past experiences of negative or scary stories that others have told them. Your approach to your child’s dental visit is an important part of their perception. Here is some helpful information that will guide you to help your child have a good experience at the dentist.
Things that are sure to make your child afraid of the Dentist
Before we get into the dos and don’ts to help your child have a great dental experience, let’s cover some dos and don’ts. Unfortunately, we see these things all the time, and they don’t just help your child. It also makes it difficult for us to earn their trust.
- Tell your child how scared you are of going to the dentist. Children follow your example. If you are afraid, they will be afraid too.
- Describes dental treatment in a horrible way. Don’t use words like “stab,” “needle,” or “bleed.”. A good dentist has a way of explaining what to expect, so kids have the right expectations and don’t have to worry.
- Wait until your child is in pain before taking him to the dentist. This automatically creates a negative experience. They should have a positive and pain-free experience at the dentist’s office, such as a simple professional tooth cleaning or dental sealant. Pain makes everything terrifying for children!
- Tell the child what the dentist should do. Many frightened young patients tell us that an older brother or father told them that we had to pull their teeth or make a big hole in them. If you don’t know what treatment your child needs, don’t try to tell him what to expect.
- Makes promises you can’t keep. We often hear parents frantically promising their children that they will not suffer or feel anything. Unfortunately, this may not be true. It is best for the dentist to determine how your child will feel during treatment.
While we at Pearl Dental P.C. pride ourselves in our friendly staff and comfortable environment, a trip to the dentist can still be a scary experience for a young child. To them, the dentist is just a stranger they’ve never met prodding around inside their mouth with sharp and shiny objects. Here’s a list of a few ways that you can make the dentist’s office a bit less of an intimidating place for your kids.
Things you can do to prevent Dental fear in your Child
Accordingly, here are things you can do to help prevent or reduce your child’s fear or anxiety about their next visit to the dentist.
- Establish Comfort: One reason small children may become upset at the dentist is that they’re not used to being away from their home, their favorite toys, and their parents. By playing with your child in the waiting room and asking if you can accompany them on their first visit, you can replicate some of the comforts of home.
- Start Them Early: Fear at all ages often comes from a lack of familiarity. If you take your child to the dentist at a young age, they’ll have more time to develop the comfort level necessary to squelch any fears they may have had. Don’t wait until your kid is having a dental problem to bring them in for their first checkup. Then you’re asking them to deal both with tooth pain and a new alien environment.
- Find a Pediatric Dentist: Pediatric dentists work exclusively with children. They have additional training and knowledge about children’s health and behavior, making them an excellent choice for choosing a dentist for your child. Pediatric dentists know children better than general dentists. If your child has a difficult experience at the dentist that scares them, consider changing dentists. You don’t want your child to continue to feel fear, even if their experience seems normal.
- Avoid Bribing Them: Positive reinforcement is a good practice with kids, but promising a treat or reward for a good visit to the dentist can create problems down the road. Not to mention a sugary treat after the dentist can send mixed messages. After a good visit, stick to verbal reinforcement, by telling them how brave and well-behaved they were.
- Role Play a Pretend Visit: Many children benefit from role-playing a visit to the dentist before trying the real thing. Getting a pretend checkup from their mom or dad is much easier for them than a complete stranger, and a successful trial run may give them some sense of familiarity and comfort leading up to the real thing. Just don’t get too realistic and start making fake drilling noises and using sharp objects.
- Stress Its Importance: Kids don’t like a lot of things, and trying to get out of those things is one of their most common pastimes. But if you make sure they know the importance of visiting the dentist and proper oral health and how this is one of those things they just can’t get out of, they’ll be quicker to move on and accept dentist trips as a fact of life.
Dental Phobia: Does Your Child Need Help?
Dental phobia is a real obstacle to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Talk to your child or your dentist right away about what you can do to ease their concerns and keep their mouth healthy and strong. Are you looking for the best friendly and understanding pediatric dentist for your child? Pearl Dental P.C. offices, you can help minimize that fussiness and put your child on the road to a lifetime of good oral health. Our office can help you make an appointment! Contact us today for more information or call 248-476-4416 today for a free consultation with Dr. Chetana Karanth.