Concerned about your child's first visit to the dentist not going well? Dental fear or anxiety is a common problem in children. It can put stress on a child, increase the duration of a dental visit and potentially create friction between parents and dentists.
But all that needn't happen.
With the right approach, it's possible for your child to overcome their fear of the dentist and start having pleasant experiences during dental visits. While taking your child to a children's dentist is a good starting point, you have an integral role to play in helping them stay calm at the dentist.
Below are some dos and don'ts for helping your child overcome dentist phobia.
Remain calm and positive.
During the initial visit to the dentist, you'll be allowed to accompany your child into the treatment room. This is because young children tend to feel more comfortable having someone they know and trust in the operatory. With time, a child may feel secure seeing the dentist "one-on-one".
It is important for you to stay calm and positive during your child's first visit. Your child can easily notice your fears and discomfort, and this will cause them to become fearful, too. If you suffer from adult dental phobia, it's best to have the other parent bring the child in for the dental visit or have someone else they feel safe and comfortable around accompany them.
Avoid using words that may alarm your child.
Your children can feel a sense of danger from the words and language that you use while in the treatment room. Words like hurt, pain, cavity and shots can have negative connotations for children.
You want to be honest with your children but such words won't help them overcome their fear of the dentist. Instead, focus on telling your kids the cool things they get from having a dentist check their teeth.
For example, you can let them know that the dentist will clean their teeth and help keep them strong and healthy.
Don't reward your kids for seeing a dentist.
Kids love it when they're promised a reward for achieving a certain feat.
While there's absolutely nothing wrong with rewarding your child for doing something great, it's not a good idea to promise them a reward if they behave well at the dentist. They may start to think that a dentist is such a monster that they need to get rewarded just for seeing him.
If you have specific questions or concerns you need to be addressed before bringing in your little one for their first dental visit, consult a local dentist.