The dentist’s office can be a scary place for a child. Many children are afraid of the various implements that sit on the tray at the dentist’s office and this fear can linger into adulthood. For this reason, many children are terrified of a dental exam and will do whatever it takes to avoid going to the dentist. This can lead to serious tooth and gum issues and conditions.
Introduce Your Child To The Dentist When They Are Young
To help curb this fear, it’s recommended that parents take their children to the dentist as soon as the first tooth emerges or around their first birthday. This first visit shouldn’t take long and it’s an informative visit that will help parents to understand thumbsucking and other behaviors that can come up. It can also be a quick peek in the child’s mouth to see how their teeth are developing.
The most vital part of this visit is for the child to begin to develop a rapport with the dentist and reduce fear when they are older. The sooner a child is exposed to the dentist and how things work the sooner he or she will begin to see the visits as a good thing. This can help to reduce future anxiety and prevent fear of the dentist’s office.
Take The Child To A Pediatric Dentist
A pediatric dentist is a dentist that specializes in children’s dentistry. This particular dentist has received a few additional years of training for working specifically with children. They’ve learned some fine skills for communicating with children and helping them to understand the importance of proper oral care.
Many techniques that they use will be to teach the children how to properly brush and floss. They will demonstrate and tell stories that will help the child to understand. They will talk about the child’s life and most have a television with movies for the children to watch during procedures. They give children a positive reinforcement for the exam and work to put them at ease and offer special gifts like free toothbrushes and floss.
The dentist will also use language geared toward the children so that they will fully understand the process and procedures. This gives the child more comfortable and they can even take in a favorite toy. Knowing that there is something special at the end of the visit can help as well.
Before going to the dentist parents can help by playing dentist with their child. They can do the usual things such as wait your turn, go back to the chair, peek in the mouth, etc. and even count and brush teeth before the visit. This helps children to be more prepared for the first dental visit.
Don’t forget to let the child play dentist as well with a favorite stuffed animal or pet. Teach the child what to expect and be sure that they are comfortable with the process before you take them to see the dentist. Make it a good experience and rely on roleplay to help them see how easy it can be done. don’t tell them if you’re afraid of the dentist or you could transfer your fear to your child. Focus on the positives and why it’s important to see the dentist on a regular basis. Older children may wish to write out a few questions to ask the dentist at their visit.