What To Do If Your Child Doesn’t Like Going To The Dentist?
It’s no surprise that a trip to the dentist may make your child a bit anxious. Many parents say their child is “terrified” of the dentist; others say their child won’t open their mouth at the dentist, and some even say their kids scream at the dentist! Surprisingly, these are all natural and predictable responses. Many children experience anxiety when it comes to meeting strangers. So, what can you do to help ease your child’s fear of their dental appointments? Here are a few tips to help change your child’s mind about their experience at the dentist:
- Meet the dentist beforehand. Our Drs. Lara Holly, Rei Iwase, Ben Curtis, and Preston Colven would love to meet your child prior to their visit. As many children have anxiety when meeting a new person, an introductory meeting can help ease some anxiety before the appointment. We will show your child that the dental office is a friendly and fun environment.
- Create positive reinforcement for your child. If your child isn’t a fan of their dental appointments, give him or her some positive reinforcement after their appointment. Help your child associate a positive reward with their trips to the dentist. As your child grows older and realizes that the dentist isn’t so bad, these rewards won’t be necessary.
- Choose positive, less daunting words around your child. The words you use around your child can strongly affect the way he or she perceives a situation. If you choose words like “pain”, “drill”, “shot”, or similarly intimidating words, your child is likely to feel scared of his or her dentist appointments. Tell your child that the dentist is simply counting your child’s teeth, not examining Your child’s dentist is cleaning the sugar off their teeth. Choose positive words that your child can relate to, so they can understand that this will be a positive, fun, pain-free experience.
- Explain to your child why a dentist visit is important. Possibly the most effective way to ease someone’s anxieties or fears, regardless of their age, is through education. Educate your child (using positive terms) on why they need to visit their dentist. Show them pictures of what a brilliant, healthy smile looks like with a full mouth of adult teeth. Show them their own teeth in the mirror and praise them for their cleaning habits. Help your child understand the consequences if they don’t visit their dentist or brush their teeth regularly!
Preparing your child before his or her visit to the dentist can make all the difference in how they feel when they arrive at their appointment. Choose positive, calming words when describing the dentist and dental appointments. Remember, it’s completely normal that your child has some apprehension and worry about their dentist appointment, so be understanding with them. Here at Children’s Dentistry Of North Dallas we place significant emphasis on your child’s comfort throughout his or her appointment. We want you and your child to feel relaxed at every appointment. If you are seeking a dentist for kids in the Dallas area, we would love to meet you!