Is your child afraid of the dentist? This can be difficult for any parent who wants to keep their child’s teeth healthy. If your child is afraid of the dentist, remember that this is a natural reaction. The parent’s attitude towards the fear plays a big role in what happens at the dentist. Here are some tips for parents to help comfort a child who is afraid of the dentist.
- Read a book or play pretend. Try playing dentist at home with your child a few times before the visit. You could use a favorite toy to show the child what it looks like to get a dental checkup. Age-appropriate books about going to the dentist are also helpful in getting children to understand more about the dentist.
- Reward after, not before a trip to the dentist. If your child is afraid of the dentist, bribing him or her with a reward before the visit can raise anxiety more.
- Explain in a no-nonsense way. Do not try to convince a child that a dental check-up is nothing but fun and joy. Dentists and hygienists can certainly be friendly and fun, but a dental checkup is an important matter. Address a fear of the dentist by explaining the importance of keeping clean teeth and having checkups.
- Start early. If your child is still young, visiting a dentist early (and regularly) gives him or her a chance to get used to the sights, sounds, and people. The child can build a friendly relationship with the people they meet at the office and a fear of the dentist will go away faster.
- Keep it simple. You do not have to go into detail prior to a child’s first dental visit. If a child has questions, a pediatric dentist will have expertise in answering appropriately.
If your child is afraid of the dentist, these steps can help ease the worry. Building a friendly relationship with a dentist early and visiting regularly will give your child a healthy attitude towards mouth health.