4 Tips for Helping Your Child Get Over Their Fear of the Dentist May 9, 2016
When you are a kid it is normal to be afraid of the dentist. Laying in a chair staring at the ceiling with someone you don’t know poking sharp metal objects in your mouth — who wouldn’t be scared? We know some adults who aren’t too sure about it!
What is important to know is that while it seems a scary process, it is crucial that children get proper dental care. Here are some tips to make pediatric dental care easier:
Start early. It is important for children to get used to the idea of brushing their teeth and going to the dentist early. Brush your baby’s teeth as soon as they emerge. You can use a baby toothbrush, or wet washcloth after feeding. It is recommended to take your child to the dentist when the first tooth begins to push through, and certainly by age 2.
Practice at home. Before the first appointment, explain to the child what will happen. Have fun with it! Pretend you are a dentist and place your child in a recliner and pretend to examine their teeth at home so they will know what to expect.
Avoid harsh language and promises. When talking about the dentist try to avoid words like “hurt,” “pain,” and “shot” in order to ease the fear. It’s also important not to tell your child before the visit that “everything will be OK.” When they later need a filling, they might think you lied. And promising treats afterward raises questions about how bad it’s going to be.
Distract and comfort. Check with your dentist about staying in the room with your child during his/her checkup. They might also want to bring a favorite stuffed animal or toy for comfort. Praise your child during and after the visit for good behavior.
You know your child best and may have other ideas that work. Whatever you try, the goal is to help them get to a place where going to the dentist is no big deal.