Going to the dentist can be a daunting process for children, especially when they know what to expect from children’s dentistry. It’s a strange environment, someone they don’t know is going to be looking around their mouth and there is the potential for pain and discomfort, so it’s entirely understandable that your kids might be a bit apprehensive. A lot of adults feel the same way!
The good news is that there are ways to overcome this apprehension and get your children a lot more comfortable with visiting the dentist. This can be really important, as establishing good oral hygiene habits early on can potentially save them from a lifetime of pain, discomfort and expensive procedures.
If your kids hate going to the dentist, or have never been and are worried about their first visit, here are 5 practical steps that you can take to help them overcome their fears.
Help Them To Identify Their Fears
There are a few common fears when it comes to children’s dentistry, namely:
- fear of pain
- fear of just looking at a syringe
- And even fear of the dentist itself.
Identifying exactly what your child is afraid of will help you address their concerns and explain to them that there is nothing to be afraid of. The more you can do to demystify the process and make it appear normal and routine, the better it will be for everyone.
Have A Chat
Speak to them about the process and the pain they may encounter. This will help them to mentally prepare themselves and self- soothe.
Share your experiences with them about your first visit to the children’s dentistry and how well it went. But perhaps skip the honest storytelling if it turned out to be otherwise- a little sugarcoating can go a long way! The aim here is to make them aware of the importance of having good oral care and that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Put Yourself In Thier Little Shoes
Be understanding and go easy on them. Ensure that the choices of words you use to describe children’s dentistry are less harsh and more euphemistic in order to avoid discomfort and increase in fear.
Educate them about oral hygiene by reading them dental stories from children’s books or showing them some animated videos designed for children (just jump on Youtube and do some research).
Above all else, try and remember what it was like to be small and afraid.
Role-play With Your Kids
Let them have a feel of what children’s dentistry is like. Create a fun and engaging roleplay with your children about a day at the dentist. You might also want to let them imitate a dentist and let them treat you.
This opens up new perspectives and it also helps them be more familiar with what is about to come in advance. Children have powerful imaginations, so this is the perfect opportunity to harness them for a constructive purpose.
Hold Their Hands
Be there with them to provide support and to create a feeling of support and safety. Let them know that you’ll be there to work together to overcome their fears.
Not only will this help during each dental visit, but it will strengthen the bond between you and your child in the long run. Being there to support your children during trying times like this can be a very rewarding part of being a parent.
So there you have it. Children’s dentistry is rarely a fun experience, but with the right preparation and explanation, you can help your kids to realise that it’s nothing to be afraid of. Doing so could not only make life a lot easier for everyone involved, but it can also help to set them up for a lifetime of happiness and good oral health.
Here at Stirling Street Dental, we remember what it was like to be afraid of the dentist. That’s why our children’s dentistry experts go out of their way to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Get in touch today to find out more and book an appointment.