It is a common thing for kids to be afraid of the dentist. Most of them just have minor anxiety, and they get over it naturally after a while. However, some kids have such profound fear of the dentist that going there is a truly terrifying experience for them. If you find that your child is paralyzed with fear whenever you even mention the dentist, there are ways to calm those fears. Here are some tips you can use to squash your child’s dental phobia.
Start Them Young
One of the best ways to make sure kids are not afraid of the dentist is to start taking them in to see the dentist when they are very young. You should make your child’s first appointment at the dentist happen by the time they reach age one. When their first tooth starts to come out, you can go ahead and schedule a dentist appointment for kids. Visiting the dentist when they are very young will make kids think of a dental appointment as a normal, non-threatening part of life.
Don’t Frighten Them
One of the biggest mistakes that parents make is unnecessarily frightening their kids before they even arrive at the dentist. There is no need to tell your kids that they need to be brave or that a trip to the dentist will be painful. Make it seem like the trip will be a fun, exciting thing. If you have a positive attitude, you kids will feed off of that and be more likely to have a good experience at the dentist.
Have a Pretend Visit
If your child often has anxiety about entering new places or situations, then consider having a practice visit at home before the first trip to the dentist. You should pretend to be the dentist and examine your child’s teeth. You can also switch places to let your child pretend to be the dentist and examine your teeth. Making a fun game out it will help to calm your child’s anxiety and make it seem fun to go to the dentist.
Find a Pediatric Dentist
Do not make the mistake of simply taking your child to the dentist you go to. Instead, you want to look for a dentist who specializes in pediatric dentistry. Pediatric dentists have offices designed to make kids feel comfortable. They know all the tips and tricks to keep children calm when they are in the dental chair. Making the choice to visit a dentist who knows how to relate to children can make all the difference.
Some kids will not be able to overcome their fear of the dentist no matter what approach you try. If your child is simply unable to stay calm at the dentist, you may want to consider sedation dentistry. Your child will be given a drug to calm the anxiety. There will not be a loss of consciousness, but the sedation will make the child be able to undergo dental work without freaking out.
Don’t Use Bribery
You may be tempted to bribe your child to get them to stay calm at the dentist, but you should refrain from this urge. Bribing kids to be good at the dentist might have the opposite effect you want. It might make them think that there is something that they need to be afraid of at the dentist. Also, if the bribe is a sugary treat like a lollipop, it is a really bad mistake. Rewarding kids with sugar after a trip to the dentist is a bad association to make.
Although it is a stereotype that kids are always afraid of the dentist, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you follow these techniques, you will find that your child will get through their dental appointments without being afraid. Start them young and make it seem normal, and kids will have nothing to be afraid of at the dentist.