Dental visits are necessary to keep the teeth healthy and develop excellent oral hygiene habits. However, from the perspective of a child, this can be a scary thing.
Children sometimes get scared when they have to visit the dentist especially if you did not prep them before they need to attend. Because it’s a new environment, and it is unfamiliar to your child, there may be some hesitation especially when the dentist wants to operate within their mouth.
There may be the issue of pain in the mouth already and to relinquish control to a strange person digging around in the mouth of the child can be a challenge. To find out how to proceed when your child is scared of the dentist, we consulted with Altima Kingston Dental Centre and compiled these guidelines.
1. Remember to prep your child – The first thing to remember is that your child should know what they’re about to confront at the dental office. It’s good to describe some of the machinery and let them know in advance what the dentist would require of them. Remember not to include too many details. Doing so will raise more questions, and giving more information about extra treatments may cause unnecessary anxiety.
2. Have a trial run – You can practice with them to open their mouths wide so that the dentist could have an easier job and your child will be at ease having gone through this sort of thing before. Make this into a fun game that your child can enjoy.
You can also role-play take turns with your children being the dentist and patient and examine their teeth and have them examine yours so that when this actually happens they won’t be afraid. It’s never advisable to force your child to submit to a dental examination as this can affect their relationship with dentists for their entire lives and also increase the fear.
3. Expose them to dental care – It may be a good idea to take your child along when you need to visit the dentist, so that way, they can familiarize themselves with the process. Or you can have them learn about it from books and websites online that teach children the importance of oral hygiene and dental check-ups.
4. Keep it simple – Especially in the beginning, you should keep the dental activity simple. Ideally, your child’s first dental visit shouldn’t be to do any actual work on their mouth, but instead, this could be a great opportunity to have your child explore the dental office and familiarize themselves with all the equipment. Always make the process fun.
This would put them at ease and make them comfortable when the time comes for an actual dental procedure. During this time the dentist can also do a quick examination and look for any issues such as tooth decay and issues with the gums. On the next visit to your dentist, any issues that arise may be addressed. And this should be easier because of the relationship built previously with the dentist.
5. Prepare for the worst – Young children usually cry, whine, wiggle, and resist examination from a stranger. It’s important to stay calm when children have their tantrums.
6. Avoid Bribery – Many experts do not recommend promising your child a special treat if she behaves well at the dentist. Doing so will only increase their apprehension.
7. Practice Good oral health – You should teach your child that dental visits are a necessity, not a choice and that the dentist will take care of his teeth so that they are strong enough for him to eat. You might also explain that the dentist helps keep cavities at bay and ensures that his patients will have a beautiful smile for years to come.
8. Seek professional help – Even with all these tips for making the experience pleasant for your child, they may still have anxiety. It’s important to always stay calm and know that dentists sometimes have to work with children, and are used to these types of reactions. Some parents would need to resort to having their child sedated or having them visit a psychologist in order to address the issue of their fear. This is the last resort, however. Dental phobia in children is rare, but it still happens from time to time.
You can achieve good oral health for your child through diligence in oral hygiene practices like flossing and brushing regularly. Also, you can invest in a great mouthwash but all of this needs to be used in conjunction with regular dental visits. Your dentist would be able to give you the best information after a thorough examination is complete.
By practicing these tips, you can ease your child’s fear so that regular check-ups would be a breeze!