Bringing your children to the dentist regularly for check-ups and routine cleanings are incredibly important to their health. Receiving routine care as children can help prevent cavities, gum disease, and a lifelong struggle with dental health.
Being afraid of going to the dentist is a pretty common fear among children (and some adults, too). If you have a child who is terrified of the dentist, there are ways you can help them ease their worry.
Check out these 5 tips for helping kids overcome their fear of going to the dentist.
Tell Them About Their Appointment Ahead of Time
It’s important to be up-front and honest with your child about going to the dentist.
It may seem like keeping the appointment a secret until you arrive or lying about what will happen are good ideas. It may actually make things worse.
Letting them know ahead of time about what to expect will give you both time to work on addressing and easing your child’s phobias.
Have a Pretend Dental Appointment at Home Before Going to the Dentist
Kids love to play pretend, and they also learn very well through play.
Set up a dentist’s office in your living room fit with a recliner, mirror, toothbrush, floss, and water cup. Take turns being the dentist and try to make it lots of fun.
This is also a great opportunity to pinpoint where your child’s anxiety is stemming from and talk about it.
Encourage Daily Oral Hygiene to Prevent Unnecessary Treatments
Talk to your child about the importance of daily brushing and flossing to ensure their appointments are preventative only.
Explain to them how cavities form and how to best avoid them with proper oral hygiene and dietary decisions. It’s also important to monitor their brushing and flossing habits to make sure they’re performing them correctly.
Teach and Use Relaxation Techniques and Exercises
Before going to the family dentistry practice, share some relaxation techniques and exercises they can do before they arrive and while they are in the office.
Prior to the appointment, ask them to join you on a walk around the neighborhood or to partake in a yoga session. Really encourage them to be mindful of their surroundings and senses to keep their mind off of their appointment anxiety.
While on your way to the dentist and in the office, teach them various coping skills that they can do with nothing but their minds, like grounding.
Choose the Right Dentist for Your Child
Finding a wonderful family dentistry practice can make all the difference in your kid overcoming their fear of going to the dentist.
A family dentist will give them the opportunity to get to know their dentist and the staff through the various stages of their life. Children can really benefit from the stability and predictability of a consistent dentist to help them cope with their anxieties.
If you benefitted from this article, feel free to browse through our other blog posts to find more parenting tips and tricks.