Many people have a fear of honouring dental appointments. The fear of sharp, probing equipment seemingly affects the majority, despite the common use of anaesthesia. Unfortunately, this phobia transfers to your offspring – if you aren’t comfortable visiting dentists, your children will likely have the same fear.
Parenting isn’t easy, but you must ensure your children grow healthy. Part of ensuring you achieve this goal is ingraining proper oral hygiene habits. These include brushing, flossing, avoiding sugary foods, and visiting the dentist. The last part, however, is quite tricky. So how do you ease your kids’ fear of dentists?
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It’s natural for humans to feel uncomfortable in new environments. For example, when you take your kid to a dentist for the first time, it’s likely to get messy – sometimes, you might leave without getting medical attention.
Making planned visits is the best way to familiarise your child with dental clinics. This way, you can interact with staff (including non-doctors), easing your concerns about the environment.
You can also ease your kid’s anxiety by taking them to your dental appointments. Seeing the dentist’s equipment and techniques makes the child more familiar and comfortable when it’s their turn.
Use Positive Language
Words are more impactful than most people think; this applies to adults and children. While kids won’t understand some words, some utterances can trigger their emotions. For example, terms like ‘hurt’ and ‘pain’ have negative implications.
Instead, use simple and positive language. For instance, you can tell them that the dentist will only count their teeth and smile. Besides preparing the kids for the dental appointment, these words don’t hurt.
Regardless of preparation, first-timers always get nervous when sitting on big chairs in dental clinics. The best way to ease the nerves is by sitting next to your child throughout the appointment.
Luckily, most dentists encourage parents to be there for their children. It makes their work easier and reduces the risk of an accident. Remember, unsettledness can result in injury, causing bleeding.
When convincing your kid to visit a dentist isn’t easy, you can resort to bribery. For instance, you can promise a new video game to your child if they don’t cry at the dentist. Although this seems smart, it’s counter-effective – the thought of getting the desired reward will get the kid so anxious that they won’t be comfortable during the visit.
Instead of promising treats, let the kid know you’ll take them out for an exciting activity. Ensure the reward isn’t dependent on their behaviour during the dental appointment. This way, you’ll ease the fear, increasing the likelihood of a stress-free visit.
Go to a Pediatric Dentist
Medicine is a broad field with many specialists. A dentist who handles adults might not be as good with younger patients. So before taking your kid for an oral health check-up, it’s wise to look for a pediatric dentist or an individual accustomed to dealing with children.
Experience is vital when dealing with kids and other first-timers. It helps in calming nerves and reducing the risk of injury. But, more importantly, assured comfort ensures kids honour dental appointments.
Doing something for the first time always invites nervousness and anxiety. Visiting the dentist for the first time usually exudes such fears, but it’s something you can’t avoid to keep your teeth healthy and functional. Use the tips mentioned above to ease your kid’s anxiety about visiting the dentist. They work for adults, too!