Helping Your Child Overcome A Fear Of The Dentist
Is your child afraid to go to the dentist? It’s common for kids to be nervous or scared to visit the dentist, but your child’s fear is one that can be beat. In fact, most of the time, a child’s fear of the dentist can be conquered by educating the child and helping him or her complete a few relaxation techniques before the appointment. Check out these tips for helping your child conquer a fear of the dentist.
Role playing makes it easy to teach your child about going to the dentist and show your child what the dentist will be doing during the appointment. To role play a dentist appointment you need:
- Cup of water
Set up a chair in your house and pretend that it’s the dentist’s chair. Then, take some time to talk to your child about the importance of good oral hygiene and what the dentist does during a normal dentist appointment. Show your child how the dentist will look in his or her mouth with a mirror, count your child’s teeth, and lightly touch his or her teeth to make sure they are healthy. Use the toothbrush and toothbrush to clean your child’s teeth while talking about how the dentist’s teeth polisher sounds and feels. Make sure you avoid scary words, such as hurt or painful. Instead, tell your child that the tooth polisher might tickle. Many kids consider it fun to spit in the bowl at the dentist’s office, so you shouldn’t leave that part out of your role play activity. It helps keep things lighthearted and fun.
Don’t stop with just one role playing experience. Continue “playing dentist” as the appointment nears. Also, allow your child to play the part of the dentist with you or a doll as the patient.
Help Your Child Relax
Many dentists don’t allow parents to go into the examination room with their children. However, you shouldn’t worry. Dentists and dental assistants that work with children on a regular basis understand that many children are afraid of the dentist, and they know how to make the visit fun. However, going into the room without you can be stressful for your child, so you need to help him or her relax before the visit. Teach your child how to take deep breaths if he or she feels a little nervous. Slowly breathing will help him or her relax. Also, consider allowing your child to take a favorite stuffed animal or small blanket into the exam room to help keep him or her calm.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Don’t try to bribe your child into going to the dentist. By offering your child a reward for not fussing or acting up at the dentist office, your child might wonder why you’re worried about him or her fussing. The last thing you want is for your child to wonder if they should be scared. Instead, after the appointment is over, give your child a small reward for getting his or her teeth cleaned. It’s okay to reward the accomplishment, especially because it makes going to the dentist a fun experience, but you shouldn’t try to bribe your child before the visit.
Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be scary. By taking the time to educate your child about good oral hygiene, talking about what the dentist does and why it’s important to have the dentist check your teeth, and making the appointment a fun experience makes it easy for your child to overcome a fear of the dentist. If you’re looking for a family dentist in your area, visit Carpenter Dental, Charles M. Carpenter DMD, and Chas M. Carpenter DMD.