Is your child like most who are scared of the dentist? Finding ways to make them comfortable early will set the stage for stress-free trips in the future.
An estimated 60% of people feel anxious about going to the dentist while 5-10% have full-blown dental phobia. If your child falls into that 60%, you may not know how you can help.
Luckily, overcoming fear and anxiety about the dentist can be done. By taking a few simple steps, you can prevent your child from feeling scared of the dentist.
Do you want to know more? Keep reading to learn how you can help your child feel better and more confident in the dentist’s chair.
Go to a Pediatric Dentist
One of the best things you can do to reduce fear is to find a pediatric dentist. They start by creating a fun and relaxing atmosphere in their office, unlike the traditional sterile look of many adult dental offices that may scare children.
They’re also trained to work with anxious kids, so they can help put your child at ease and explain what they’re going to do in words that your child can understand.
Of course, they also have specialized knowledge in dental issues specific to kids, so you know your child will be in good hands.
Give Them Something to Look Forward to
A little positive reinforcement can go a long way. Tell your child you’ll do something fun, like go to the park or ride bikes, after their dentist appointment. This will give them something to focus on during their appointment and over time, may help them form positive associations with the dentist.
It’s important not to use this as a bribe, though. In other words, don’t tell your child you’ll go to the park only if they’re good at the dentist. Not only will this make them feel more stressed during their appointment, but going through something scary and then getting their fun activity taken away will just make them form an even worse association with the dentist.
Children tend to mirror their parents. So, if you talk negatively about the dentist and avoid going, your child will do the same.
Instead, make sure you always talk about the dentist positively and explain what will happen in words they can understand. So, instead of saying that the dentist will “check for cavities”, say that they will “check to see if your teeth are clean and healthy.”
Be sure to tell your child about their dental visit in advance and reassure them whenever they bring it up. This will give them time to ask any questions they may have and process the answers instead of having the dentist appointment sprung on them last-minute.
Helping Kids Who Are Scared of the Dentist
In order for kids to maintain good oral hygiene into their adult years, it’s important to reduce dental fear as soon as possible. Just follow the tips above to help your child feel better and more confident about their upcoming appointment. From gong to a pediatric dentist to staying positive, there are many ways to reduce stress in kids who are scared of the dentist.
Do you want more tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Then check out our health blog page today!