Taking your child to the dentist is vital to maintain healthy teeth and promote proper oral hygiene habits. From a child’s perspective, however, the visit to a dentist could be a scary event - lying on an armchair in a room they are not familiar with, filled with unfamiliar objects and noises with a stranger poking unusual instruments in their mouths.
In addition, as your child continues losing their baby teeth, he or she may need upward of 10 trips to the dentist before joining first grade. To help ease your child’s fear of the dentist in the future, here are some tips that will make them feel more relaxed and comfortable.
5 Tips To Help Your Relieve Your Child's Dental Fears
Start at a Young Age
The earlier your child visits a dentist, the better.
This will help your child get acquainted with the dental office as a safe place where they could have their oral needs attended to.
Besides, when you start the dental visits early enough, the child will become familiar with the dentist, and after a few visits, they will no longer see them as a stranger.
Pediatric dentists recommend that the first visit should begin at the age of 12 months or when their first tooth comes in.
Keep Things Simple
When getting ready for a dental visit, particularly for the first time, it is important not to share too many details with your child. Sharing a lot of information with your child could cause them to raise more questions.
In addition, adding more information regarding extra treatments like tooth fillings could result in unnecessary anxiety.
Always maintain a positive attitude when talking about an upcoming dental visit with your child.
Use Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques are mainly essential for children who suffer from anxiety since they aid in reducing dental phobia and allowing them to stay relaxed.
Simple deep breathing, slow exhalation, and deep inhalation or asking your child to blow bubbles through a straw could help offer some relief.
Muscle relaxation exercises could also aid in loosening up your child’s body. Consistently working through relaxation exercises before going to the dentist may help develop subconscious associations of feeling relaxed when making visits to the dental office.
Watch the Words You Use
If you want to ease your child's fear of the dentist, then it is best not to use words associated with pain when speaking with your child about the dentist.
Let the staff at the dental office introduce their vocabulary to children to aid them in getting through any difficult situation.
A favorite line used by parents is that “we are going to have your smile checked and teeth counted”.
It is advisable that you use positive terms like healthy, strong, and clean to make the visit to the dentist seem fun instead of something alarming and scary.
Do a Mock Visit
Before booking your first appointment with your child's dentist, you could play a mock visit to the dental office. You can simply go through the visit and simply use a toothbrush to represent the teeth cleaning tool. You could even hold up your mirror to illustrate how the dentist will look at their teeth.
The importance of a mock visit is that it gets your child familiar with the routine so that they will be more comfortable when it’s time for the actual visit.
Hopefully, some of these tips give you some good ideas for dealing with any fears your children may have associated with the dentist.
In the end, our best advice is to make dental visits a regular experience for you and your whole family. If going to the dentist is something that your children see you doing, they will understand that it is a normal experience with nothing to worry about.
If you have any questions or need further advice on helping your children overcome their particular fears of the dentist, please contact us today!
Jacksonville Pediatric Dentist
11528 San Jose Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32223