Everyone has to go to the dentist, and unfortunately, many kids don’t enjoy visiting their dentist. We have seen some children that love visiting the dentist, and we have had children that are terrified of being at the dentist. This is actually quite common and most dentists have a good amount of experience in handling these fears. However, there are some steps that parents can take to help their child not be fearful of the dentist and instead enjoy visiting the dentist!
- Read books,
There are many wonderful children’s books out there that we would recommend reading with your child. Doing this can help reduce the fear associated with going to the dentist. Since books use pictures and colors to make the dentist more fun for your child. Books can also help explain what the dentist is doing and this can help your child better understand what goes on while they are at the dentist. Much of the anxiety that children feel is from the unknown, not from actual experiences.
- Take them to the dentist when they are young,
Many dentists recommend bringing your children to visit the dentist at a young age, usually when they have only a few teeth or around the time of their first birthday. Not only does this help with their oral health, but it also gets them used to the dentist from early age and this will help them feel more comfortable and trust the dentist when they are older.
- Play dentist,
Children learn a tremendous amount from pretending and playing. Many children love pretending to be a doctor and this same principle can be applied to the dentist. You can have fun with your kids by pretending you are the dentist and they are the patient. This will help them get used to what they will experience while at the dentist. You can also teach them how to brush their teeth, count how many teeth they have, floss etc. You could also have them play dentist with a doll or stuffed animal. The point of all of this is to make going to the dentist fun for your child!
- Keep it simple
We would recommend giving your child plenty of warning when they have an appointment coming up. This will give them time to process and prepare, especially if they have real anxiety about visiting. Before you go to the dentist, ask your child if they have any questions. Give them answers that they will understand. Much of the fear children have is because of uncertainty or lack of understanding. Don’t lie, by saying that they won’t do anything other than “check your smile” or anything like that. This can reduce trust for future visits.
- Teach the importance of good oral health
One of the best things you can do to help your child is, leading by example. You should set the expectations of what healthy and strong teeth look like. Teach your child to brush daily, and floss regularly. Take them to the dentist often and go for yourself as well. If you display dislike or anxiety when visiting the dentist, then most likely your children will as well.
Every child is totally different, and these might not work for yours, but these might help them have less fear of the dentist. Because the dentist can be fun and is important to not only your child’shealth but yours as well.