Many children are afraid of going to any doctor, especially the dentist, for one reason or another. Whether it’s being scared of the possible pain, having a procedure done to their teeth many kids hate the dentist.
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are ways to change your child’s views, making them more comfortable with their dentist—and their health in general. Using the following tips, your child can overcome their fear of the dentist and embrace it as a necessary part of maintaining a healthy life.
The Fear of the Unknown
Many people are afraid of things they don’t understand. For some young children, dental visits are a mystery. They don’t understand what needs to be done or how the process will unfold. And, like many mysteries, they hear incomplete or incorrect information from their friends, TV, or other sources. Children may also think they might get stuck wearing something like older-style braces.
Interestingly, many times the fear comes from the parent themselves. Since many fears are transplanted to kids, parents that fear the dentist or speak negatively about it may help create the same fear in their children.
What Can I Do to Help Cure Them of Dental Fear?
There are many things you can do to help your children overcome their fears. While the strategy is similar to most other fears, you don’t have to do this one alone. Your dental office staff can help as well. Most dentists know that introducing kids to dentistry the right way is crucial to helping them get comfortable with the process, ensuring easier appointments for them and the kids in the future.
Here are five major tips to help children:
- Get them interested in their health and dental future – Brushing doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Helping your kids get used to brushing their teeth and taking care of themselves will help teach them that being healthy is a good thing. Whether it’s using flavored toothpaste or a tooth brush with a cool hero on it, turning their dental routine into fun will help them become comfortable.
- Find the right dentist for your kids – Not all dental offices are created equal. Some dentists and staff are better than others at working with younger children. These pediatric dentists and offices are comfortable with children and have ways to help them cope with the stress of being there. They sometimes even turn it into a fun experience with toys, treats, or prizes. Ultimately, the manner of the dental office is the most important, helping to create the right environment for your kids.
- Overcoming your own fear before helping your child – Parental fears are passed down to kids on many occasions. Helping overcome your fears and working to understand what you’re afraid of so you can mitigate it can help you do the same for your child. If you know the dentist is nothing to be scared
of, then you can convincingly tell your child the same thing.
- Start dental visits early – Many parents wait too long to start taking their kids to the dentist. If routine visits are an early habit, the child will understand that they are going to come out okay every time, and that there’s nothing to fear. When parents wait too long, kids can have too many built up myths about dentists in their head and can become upset.
- Dispel the myths of dental care – Many times children learn incomplete information from the wrong sources. Frequently, its your child’s peers that can pass along this bad info, knowingly or unknowingly. Discussing the process and the need for dental care with your child early can help them separate fact from fiction. Using resources like children’s books or videos can show your child that they have nothing to fear.
Working with the right dentist is crucial for you and your children’s oral health as well as your comfort. At Cardinal Family Dental, we understand how to work with children and provide them with the right dental care while keeping them motivated, comfortable, and happy. If your child is ready for a dental visit, contact us today to make an appointment in a friendly, warm environment!