If your child is scared about going to the dentist, then we can offer some helpful advice and tips about helping them get over their fears and encourage them to lose their fears.
Sometimes a trip to the dentist can be a scary event from a child’s point of view. Having a stranger poking cold metallic tools around your mouth while you lay back in a huge chair can seem quite daunting. As your child’s teeth grow and fall out, they will be facing regular visits to the dentist so anything you can do to ease their anxiety and to help them feel more comfortable and relaxed about their visits is going to be very welcome.
Lets take a look at some top tips to help your child overcome their fear of the dentist, or even prevent them from becoming scared of visiting in the first place.
1: Start Them Young
Getting your children used to the dentist from an early age is a great idea. Even before they need to have appointments of their own, you can help them become familiar with the dentists surroundings by taking them along with you when you have your dental check-ups.
Watching their parents having their teeth checked can make them curious. Dentists in the UK encourage parents to bring along their children so they can become familiar with the dentist and will recognise him or her when it come the time for their first proper check-up. Many dentists will recommend regular check-ups when the milk teeth start to come in. Your dentist can advise you about the best time to start, and will be able to ease your child into things by doing small and quick checks to get your child used to the process.
2: Explain What Happens
If you child is feeling anxious about an upcoming dental appointment, take some time to sit down with your child to explain in a simple way what happens when you visit the dentist. Explaining in a cool and calm manner will help to put your child’s mind at ease and will dispel any false worries they may have.
It is OK to explain to your child what happens at a routine check-up, but take care not to over-explain everything or give them too much information. For example, if this is their first dental check-up then simply explaining about meeting the dentist, sitting in the big chair and what the dentist will do will be enough. You don’t want to add to their anxiety by talking about dental fillings, anaesthetic needles and dental drills before their first ever visit!
3: Keep a Positive Attitude
On the run up to your child’s dental check-up appointment and on the day itself, keep a positive attitude about the visit. Reassure your child that everyone has to go to the dentist to have their smile checked and their teeth counted. This way your child will see that visiting the dentist is quite normal and is a routine thing that everyone does.
Your dentist will be quite used to dealing with children that may be a little scared or apprehensive. They will use positive phrases and words with your child, such as clean, bright, strong and healthy, so remember to use positive words too.
4: Play Act Being a Dentist
A great way of introducing having to go to the dentist to your child is to play act. You could say that you will be taking them to the dentist soon, so why not make up a pretend visit to show your child exactly what will happen on their visit. You could pretend to be the dentist and your child is the patient. All you would need is a comfortable chair, a toothbrush and a small torch to shine into their mouth to help count their teeth. If you have a small mirror, you can use this to show your child what the dentist will be looking at when they look into his or her mouth. The idea is to get your child familiar with the routine so they will know what to expect and be more comfortable about their real visit.