A visit to the dentist may seem routine to many, but for children who fear the dentist, it is anything but routine. Fear of the unknown and/or fear of pain are very common fears among kids and are often the reason why they might cry or act out when it’s time to visit the dentist. Fortunately, parents are not alone in their quest to ease their child’s fear of the dentist. Most children’s dentists and their staff are trained to work with kids and know how to help them cope with their fear. Parents can also help prepare their child at home using these five recommended steps:
Talk Teeth: Make oral health a common topic in your home. Picture books and cartoon dental videos are great resources. Also, during your daily and nightly routines of brushing and flossing, have fun role playing “going to the dentist”.
Start Early: Children’s dentists recommend that you start taking your child to the dentist when their first tooth comes in (around 1 year old). These early visits will often consist of quick check-ups and gentle cleanings, which are great way to introduce your child to kid’s dentistry.
Schedule A Pre-Visit: A pre-visit to the dentist is a great way to familiarize your child with the dentist’s office without any overwhelming exams or procedures that same day. Meeting the staff, seeing the fun environment and getting answers to questions can help ease any fears, making the actual appointment much more pleasant.
Leave The Details To The Experts: When preparing your child for their first visit to the dentist, keep the explanation positive and simple. Let the trained staff and children’s dentist explain procedures and treatment to your child. You might want to say something simple like: “The dentist is going to check your smile to make sure your teeth are strong, healthy and clean. Avoid negative words like shot or pain.
Discuss The Option Of Sedation With The Dentist: Some children need more help relaxing to allow the proper amount of time for their treatment. When more extensive work is needed, sedation can especially be a great benefit. There are several options and methods for sedation for children. Your child’s dentist can explain these options and recommend the appropriate one for your child.