Taking your child to the dentist is important to maintain healthy teeth and start healthy oral hygiene habits. However, your child may not care about the benefits of the dentist. Instead, he or she may show fear of the dentist. With the unfamiliar sounds, objects, and a stranger working in their mouth, who can blame them? It is our mission to have children conquer any fear they may have, so they are more apt to visit the dentist as a part of their regular routine in adulthood. In this article, you will find some tips that we find beneficial in helping children conquer their fear of the dentist.
Don’t Wait Too Long
The sooner your child can visit the dentist, the better. This will allow your child to feel a sense of comfort and familiarity the more often they go. Some parents may think that children do not need to visit the dentist on a regular basis due to them having baby teeth (they’re going to fall out anyway, right?). Wrong! It is best for a child to visit a dentist whenever their first tooth breaks through.
Be Careful of Your Words
Be sure not to mention any words that may be alarming to your child. Any talk about pain, shots, etc. should be avoided at all costs. The dental staff will be able to use the correct terms, and in a way that is not scary for your child. We want their experience to be positive, happy, and more importantly, educational on why it’s essential to maintain a healthy smile.
It may benefit your child if you play “dentist” with them. We suggest allowing them to be the dentist, giving them a toothbrush, and having them count your teeth. You can reverse roles, and pretend to use a mirror to see their teeth better, etc. Make sure you DO NOT make any alarming noises (that may mimic a drill, for example). Playing dentist on a stuffed animal may also be beneficial. The primary goal is to have them become comfortable and prepared for what they can expect when they visit the dentist.
Be Prepared for Fussing
Dentists have seen it all. Fussy kids, tantrums, you name it. Expect your child to whine, fuss, cry and wiggle. Most importantly, remember to remain calm! The dental staff and dentist are professionals and will be able to guide you and your child if need be. They may ask for you to sit with them, hold their hand, or other ways that may provide comfort to your little one.
Teach Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits
The most important factor is for your child to learn healthy dental habits. Making sure they know visiting the dentist is something that has to be done, not an option, is crucial. They need to know that having strong teeth will allow them to eat, have a beautiful smile, and prevent cavities.
If you would like any more information about bringing your child to the dentist, or conquering any dental fear, give us a call at The Gentle Dentist! We can be reached at 586-247-3500. We would love to help guide your child in creating healthy oral hygiene habits!