As parents, we know and completely understand that going to the dentist is an important and crucial part of keeping the mouths of our children healthy; however, it often does not rank very high on a child’s list of things that they want to do or enjoy doing.
Sitting in an odd-shaped chair that places us at an awkward position, bright lights in the eyes, and having the mouth spread open and poked around in is certainly NOT considered to be an enjoyable activity by most kids. In fact, for many children, this is an exceptionally frightening experience that may result in high levels of anxiety, immense depression, and an extreme fear of dentists that could last a lifetime.
Let’s admit it, going to the dentist is one of those events that has the potential to rattle even the absolute calmest of people – this includes kids! We know that many kids are mildly nervous when going to the dentist. Others may experience such a high level of anxiety that they become physically ill. Then, there are those that are so afraid that the dentist may as well be the boogeyman underneath the bed.
In this brief guide, we will share a few simple strategies that will help you help your child overcome their fear of the dentist.
Helping Your Child Overcome Their Fear of the Dentist
Strategy #1: Always Opt for a Pediatric Dentist
The first and most important strategy in helping a kid overcome their fear of the dentist, is to opt for a dentist that caters to children – a pediatric dentist. These professionals actually bring a higher level of expertise to the table.
These specialists receive additional training in order to learn how to work with and help pediatric patients. The offices and treatments are all kid-friendly.
It is not at all uncommon for kids to be provided with sunglasses to block the lighting or toys – such as stuffed animals – to hold while being evaluated and treated.
A pediatric dentist will take all the steps necessary to ensure a child’s comfort level because they know that kids typically become very nervous. In fact, many pediatric dentists go the extra mile to make sure that the visit is pleasant and even fun for the child!
Strategy #2: Start Dental Care as Early as Possible
The next step to helping a child combat their fear of a dentist is to make sure that they do not have time to develop that fear. You should schedule a dentist appointment for your child as soon as their teeth start to appear.
By taking this measure, your child will get into the routine of visiting the dentist and potential problems that could result in more advanced treatments may be avoided.
Strategy #3: Avoid Negativity
Children are not the only ones that have a fear of dentists. Adults have this fear, too. If you are one of those adults, you should avoid negativity – at all costs.
If you dread going to see the dentist or verbally express this, your child will see it and hear it. As a result, the child’s anxiety towards dentists increases. You should avoid negativity towards dental professionals – at all times. In doing so, your child will not develop any unreasonable fear of the dentist.