It’s not uncommon for children to be hesitant and afraid of visiting the dentist. After all, typically they’re the only ones that get to stick tools and gadgets into their mouths, and the thought of someone else doing that can be scary at first. If your child is fearful of visiting the dentist, try these five tips for reducing their anxiety and increasing their awareness.
Lead by Example
Children love to mimic their parents and siblings. When it comes their time to visit the dentist, set up your appointment before theirs so they can see how you ask and respond to being in the dentist chair. If they see you being calm, cool and collected, it will not only set the tone for the visit but they will more likely to imitate your behavior and attitude.
Naturally, your children aren’t going to know what to expect, so it would help to prep them ahead of time. As the masters of imagination, it would help to role play with your child what it would be like to go to the dentist, sit in the chair, and go through some of the steps of getting their teeth checked and cleaned. After a time or two of role playing, it will help to ease their nerves when it comes time to actually visit the dentist.
Divert & Distract
Humor is always a good prescription for an uncomfortable situation and can easily distract your child from what the dentist may be doing. Call your dentist ahead of time and ask if you can bring a quiet toy or stuff animal to help calm your child when they’re there.
Watch Your Words
As you know, children pick up everything. They’re like little sponges, and the way you talk about the dentist and going for a dental appointment, they are going to pick up on that, creating either fear or confidence.
See a Family Dentist
There are a lot of dentists out there to choose from, but there may be only a handful that would are equipped and specialized in working with children. Look for a dentist that has experience with working with young children, because they will know how to slowly walk them through the process and help to get them comfortable with being in the chair and
Typically, it just takes a couple visit for children to start overcoming their fear of the dentist and see that the dentist is just there to help them and make sure that they are healthy. Just keep a positive attitude and encouraging them along the way!