Fear of the dentist is a very common form of anxiety for children to have. Fear of the dentist may keep some children from getting the dental care they need. If your child gets anxious at the dentist, there are several things you can do to help keep them calm during their visit.
Prepare Ahead of Time
You may think it’s a good idea to wait until the last minute to tell your child they’re going to go to the dentist, but this will actually cause more anxiety for your child. Tell them about their dental visit well ahead of time so that they have time to mentally prepare for it. Allow them to express their fears and concerns to you in the days leading up to their appointment. Do not discount their fears. Be patient and understanding with them. Do not tell them any “war stories” of your own; this will only scare them.
If they have questions, answer them directly. Do not provide a lot of detailed information, though. Do not talk about pain or specific procedures with your child. Instead, allow the professionals at the dentist’s office to answer questions about specific procedures. They often have kid-friendly vocabulary they use to explain procedures to children before they take place.
See a Pediatric Dentist
Pediatric dentists specialize in the treatment of children from infancy through the teen years. Pediatric dentists are trained to make children feel comfortable at visits. They have equipment designed for children, and their offices are decorated with children in mind. Pediatric dentists strive to make dental visits positive for children so that they continue to get dental care in San Angelo, TX regularly when they reach adulthood.
Pediatric dentists often develop a kid-friendly vocabulary to explain procedures to children. They try to explain what’s going to happen in a positive and upbeat way in order to reduce a child’s anxiety over treatments.
Bring a favorite stuffed animal or toy along to the dentist to help comfort and distract your child. Pediatric dentists will have toys in the waiting room your child can play with, and some of these toys may be able to be taken back to the examination room.
Getting the hygienist or dentist to talk about a pleasant topic might also help distract your child during their appointment. For instance, if you have a pet your child loves, the hygienist and dentist could talk about cats or dogs and ask your child questions about their pet.
It is important for you to remain calm during your child’s dental visit. If you’re anxious, your child will pick up on it and become more anxious themself. Follow the dentist’s instructions while you’re there. Recognize that it is normal for children to fuss, whine, or cry during dental appointments, and remain calm if this happens. Do not get frustrated or mad, as this will cause your child more anxiety.
Do Something Fun Afterward
Praise your child for being brave at the dentist, even if they cried, fussed, or whined during their appointment. Don’t bribe your child with promises of rewards for “good behavior” at the dentist, but doing something special or fun after a dental appointment will help your child associate these appointments with positive things. For instance, you could take a trip to the park, visit the zoo, or go swimming after a dental visit.
Regular dental visits are essential to good oral hygiene. However, dental visits can be quite challenging when your child gets anxious at the dentist’s office. Try using some of these tips to help your child relax at his next dental appointment.