A lot of children dread the time when they have to visit the dentist. The first thought that often comes into their mind is, “Is it going to hurt?” This kind of mindset is often the reason they don’t want to go to their routine dental check-ups.
Here are a few ways to help them be more comfortable around their dentist and make their dental visit something to look forward to:
- Eliminate any bad thoughts they have about their dentist.
As children often see the dentist as a bad person who takes away their teeth, they cower at the thought of getting near their dentist. Take away these bad thoughts by showing them why the dentist is on their side. Instead of saying the dentist will pull out their teeth, tell them how the dentist takes care of them. It’s all about getting back their trust.
- Don’t show them pictures of dental procedures.
Children are too young to understand how dental procedures work – the last thing they need is an unpleasant picture of a dentist working on someone else’s mouth. Showing them pictures of these procedures will only make them not want to go to the dentist. If you want them to understand how the procedure works, show them child-friendly books on dental health care. This will give them a small idea of what to expect when they visit the dentist.
- Introduce them first to the dentist
Children are wary of people they don’t know, even more so if that stranger will do something with their teeth. Before you set a dental checkup, arrange an appointment to meet the dentist. Introduce them to the dentist and let them have a feel of what’s it like being in the dental office. This somehow eases their anxiety of dealing with the unknown.
- Give them a treat.
Every child loves to be pampered. Giving your child a treat after going to the dentist is one way of rewarding them and reinforcing a positive experience. You can take them to their favorite place, buy them a gift, or eat their favorite food. They will likely associate the visit with the rewards, which can give them something to look forward to next time.
As a parent, you’re responsible for the well-being of your child – and this includes their oral health. If they’re afraid of the dentist, you need to find ways to ease their anxiety and make their visit a fun experience.