Are you about to take your kid to their first dentist appointment? Do you have a kid that has already been there but has an extreme fear of the dentist?
Well, don’t worry, we’ve come up with a few useful tips to help you get rid of your child’s fear of dentist visits. Read these tips to make the whole process as comfortable as possible for them:
1. Start Dental Visits Young
This is more of the most crucial tips to help your child feel more comfortable during future visits. The first time will always be an unnerving experience for the both of you. It’s recommended that the first dental visit should be when they’re around five to six years old.
Once your child grows up having regular visits to the dentist, it will become a normal part of their life. The next visits will have memories of previous appointments which will help them feel accustomed to the process.
See here for more information about your kid’s first visit to the dentist and where you can book an appointment.
2. Avoid Negative Words
As much as possible, you’ll want to avoid saying anything that might scare your kid when visiting. It can be a tricky thing to do and you might not even realize your painting it in a negative way. Try your best to avoid words like “hurt” or “pain” when describing what will happen.
Anything that can discourage your child or make them anticipate something painful. This doesn’t mean that you have to lie to your child, but rather use positive words. This is to encourage your child to think that going to the dentist isn’t a big deal.
If your child starts asking about the specifics of the procedures they might go through. Try and avoid words like “shot”, “drill”, or any other tool that may make your child anxious about going. Sugarcoat the process of their visit while still being honest with them.
3. Comfort and Distract
When you and your kid go to the dentist, they’re experiencing leaving their comfort zone and entering into something unknown. Many tears and unsuccessful visits stem from a child overthinking. The bad visits can start building up in their own head and scaring themselves once they stress about it too much.
One of the best ways to avoid this scenario is to make your child feel safe before sitting in the dentist’s chair. Try and keep their mood lighthearted by bringing in humor to the situation.
You could also let them bring something that comforts them like their favorite toy. Bringing something familiar with them helps them feel safe and more comfortable.
4. Play Dentist at Home
For little kids, the dentist’s can be a very strange place. With all this unusual equipment, atmosphere, even the smells. It’s important that before you visit a dentist, your child knows a good amount about what they are and what they do.
To prepare them for this sudden change of scenery, it’s best that you educate them about the topic. Role-playing and pretending to be a dentist at home immerses them into the experience before they actually get into it. You can set you a pretend dentist chair and talk to your child about their teeth, pretend x-rays, and talk about the importance of their oral health.
You can take this however way you want, but make sure that by the end of it they’ve learned more about dentists. Set their expectations of what their visit is going to be like.
5. Give Positive Reinforcement
Your kid should already know about all the benefits of going to the dentist like healthier teeth and better hygiene. Try and expand on this and congratulate them when they do something good and use positive reinforcement. Even if it’s little things like walking into the office calmly or keeping their composure.
Following with the theme of the first tip, keep everything positive. You want your child to remember their dentist’s experience as something positive so that the next visit won’t seem so scary and it’ll be something they’re comfortable with.
Acknowledge the good things they’re doing to encourage more of that same kind of behavior. Making them feel like they’re doing a good job will help them relax and feel more confident going into this.
6. Keep Yourself Relaxed
Most children take emotional cues from their parents. If they’re walking into uncharted territory and don’t know how to respond, the way you react will be their guide. Your child is going to pick up any anxiety or tension that you have and interpret it as them being in a bad situation.
You have to stay strong and positive throughout the whole process, from the drive to the office to when you guys arrive back home. Set a good example of how to keep your resilience. Be a role model to how they’re supposed to handle unknown situations like this one.
7. Don’t Resort to Bribes
You’re trying to normalize dental visits and make it seem like nothing to worry about. Promising your kid something after the visit like a toy or some candy will make them think that they’re about to experience a bad or scary thing.
Again, this might be hard to avoid as it can be the easiest way to make your kid behave. Keep in mind that you’re trying to make them think that this is a normal thing that happens every now and then.
Of course, rewarding your kid for their good behavior is still a good thing. But be sure that you aren’t making it a big deal or to celebrate it. Show your kid that there’s nothing to get scared about and that this is a part of a normal routine.
Help Your Kids Fear of Dentist Visits
We hope that after reading this article you have a stranger grasp on how to help with your child’s fear of dentists. Getting over the fear of the dentist isn’t an easy or quick thing to do. But if you follow these tips through, you’ll be able to let your child feel comfortable and safe.
Of course, it doesn’t end here. If you want more health tips and tricks, guides for beauty and fashion, or more, then check out our other guides here.