Dental anxiety is a common situation among children, and in many instances, it is caused by the adult’s own fears. Failure to ease the child’s fears may make their dental visits a nightmare. As a parent, taking some measures can help relieve a child’s dental anxiety before it affects their oral health. This will also help build an excellent and solid foundation for their dentition until adulthood. The following are ways to make your child more comfortable with dental visits.
Calming your child
Let them know what to expect
You need to let your child know about their dental appointment and what is involved. Sometimes, it could be frightening to be in an unfamiliar place meeting a stranger. Offering your child the information they need to know about dental visits will go a long way toward putting them at ease. They do not need all the complicated details, since the dentist is trained to provide answers simply and in a straightforward way.
“Play” the dentist
Acquainting your child is an excellent way to lessen dental anxiety. Sometimes, their fears stem from not knowing the events that will unfold at the office. You can help them by playing the dentist’s role. Let your child sit in a chair, have them open wide and count their teeth and get a mirror to show them how the dentist will conduct a dental evaluation.
Do not reward them for positive behavior
You may want to give your child a treat or physical reward for proper composure at the dentist’s office, but doing that may make them anticipate an undesirable experience, thus causing unnecessary apprehension. Rather than bribe your kids with incentives, offer them compliments for good behavior at the dental office. This is a better way to let them know you are proud of them and show that dental visits are not such a terrible idea.
Do not contribute to the fear
You may be tempted to tell your child about your experiences with the dentist, but do not do that. You may inadvertently pass on your dental anxiety (that you may not know about) to the child. Keep the appointment all about your child. This will make them more confident and allay their fears ahead of the upcoming dental visit.
Your children may not understand the value of dental checkups, but it is easier to explain logical results. For instance, children will understand you better if you say that their strength is derived from eating veggies than trying to explain vitamins and minerals.
This applies to dental visits as well. Let them know that visiting the dentist is one of the best ways to keep their teeth strong and healthy. This will make the prospect of the dental visit look more promising or make them more tolerant. Involve them in make-believe acts, offer simple explanations and provide positive encouragements to allay their dental anxiety.
Ideally, let them start the visits early before they hit age one, and after that, make it an essential part of their routine. This will help them create positive relationships with the dentist and prevent the screaming and tantrums.
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