Going to the dentist is rarely ever an enjoyable experience to look forward to, so it’s no surprise that a large percentage of people are nervous about it. Giving up control to somebody to drill your teeth and perform fillings, root canals, and other dental procedures can be very nerve-wracking, so it’s understandable why many patients are anxious or even fearful about visiting their dentist. However, if that person is your child, you will probably want to do whatever you can to help them get over their fear of the dentist. After all, helping them develop good dental care habits now, such as visiting the dentist every six months for a check-up, is going to benefit them later in life. So, what can you do as a parent if your child is scared of the dentist?
Try a Different Dentist
If your child became scared of the dentist after moving to a different dental care provider, it could be something to do with that. You might find it useful to move to a dentist who is more experienced with treating children or a family dental practice that is less intimidating for kids with fun pictures on the walls and toys available for them to play with. You might also want to try dentists who treat nervous patients, like Kiss Dental. They stand out from many dentists on the market as they provide a relaxing environment for patients of any age and they have staff who are experienced in working with patients who are nervous about the experience.
Talk to Your Child
Sometimes, getting to the root of the problem is a must if your child has suddenly developed a fear of the dentist. Maybe they were in pain during a dental procedure but did not want to say anything at the time, or maybe they didn’t like something that a dentist or dental nurse said to them. Sit down with your child and ask them what is making them scared of the dentist and if there’s anything that you can do about it. If they were in pain during a procedure, for example, you can let them know that they should always tell the dentist as they should not feel pain, and the dentist will make sure that it goes away before they carry on. Sometimes, a little bit of reassurance will be all that they need.
Make Going to the Dentist Fun
Going to the dentist isn’t ever really going to be fun, but if you can turn it into a part of a fun and exciting day for your child, it might not seem so scary anymore. For example, after going to the dentist, you could take your child to the cinema, an arcade, or a funfair so that they have something to look forward to while they are in the dentist’s chair. Knowing that they are going to do something fun afterward for a reward for being brave at the dentist can help take their mind off the situation and make it easier.
Encourage Good Dental Hygiene
Of course, it goes without saying that the better condition your child’s teeth are in, the less they will need to get done at the dentist. Check-ups are usually painless and quick, and if your child looks after their teeth, hopefully, that is the most they will need to go through. Spend some time with your child to talk about the importance of looking after their teeth and how having healthy teeth means that they will need to spend less time at the dentist. Let them pick out a fun toothbrush with cartoon characters that they will enjoy using and get a fun flavoured toothpaste.
Set a Good Example
Even if you are scared of the dentist yourself, now is not the time to talk to your child about it. If you are nervous about going to the dentist and your child has seen this, they could simply be copying mum or dad. Children do pick up on our emotions and feelings, and they can tell if you are feeling nervous about something, so try to hide it around your child and speak to your dentist about your anxiety so that they can reassure you. Also, be sure to set a good example when it comes to practicing good dental hygiene at home and going for regular check-ups at the dentist too. If your child normally comes with you for your appointment and has theirs straight after, it might be worth going separately so that you aren’t nervous or in any pain when your child is going for their check-up.
Going to the dentist is never a pleasurable experience, and many people are fearful of being in the dentist’s chair. A dental visit can be especially intimidating for young children, but it shouldn’t be scary. If your child has started to feel scared of going to the dentist, speak to your dentist and let them know the situation so that they can offer extra support.Follow me on social media for more!
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