Is your child afraid of the dentist? That’s okay. It is perfectly normal for children to have fears. Being afraid of visiting the dentist is a common fear and is referred to as dental anxiety. However, just because it is common does not mean there is no solution. So what can you do to help your child get past their anxiety? We have some suggestions you can try that may help.
Start Them Young
The earlier your child visits a pediatric dentist, the better. Giving your child a familiar place to visit for their dental needs will make them feel more relaxed. It is generally recommended you bring your child to a pediatric dentist as early as 1 year old or when the first tooth is visible.
Let Your Child Know About the Visit Ahead of Time
Most of the fear of the pediatric dentist office stems from the unknown. Children are generally more relaxed when they know about their appointment. Waiting until the last moment to tell your child can add to their anxiety and prevents them from having the time to mentally prepare for their visit.
Answer Questions Simply and Directly
Your child will likely have many questions. Especially on their first visit to the pediatric dentist. When answering their questions, keep your answers simple, avoiding too many details. Don’t use words like “shot,” “hurt,” or “pain.” Instead, allow the dentist to introduce their own vocabulary to get your child through any difficult situations. A pediatric dentist office is trained to provide a comfortable and calm environment in case of dental anxiety.
Avoid Sharing Your Own Dental Stories
Providing your children with stories about your own difficult visit may seem like you are preparing them for the worst, but in general, it only causes more anxiety. Sharing negative experiences may even cause them to worry about procedures that they will not have to face.
Many parents make the mistake of offering a special treat in exchange for good behavior. In general, this only causes your child to wonder what is going to be so bad about the trip to the pediatric dentist office that they will deserve a treat for good behavior. Instead, praise your child after the procedure for their bravery. This helps to reinforce their good feelings instead of adding anxiety.
Choose the Right Pediatric Dentist
Selecting a pediatric dentist who is an expert at providing calm and efficient service to your child is the best step you can take to ensure your child has a good experience. Dr. Stuart Scott at Parkcrest Dental has over 25 years of experience providing excellent service in the Springfield area. Our entire staff is dedicated to ensuring your child has a positive dental experience. Visit Dr. Scott to ensure that your child has a happy and healthy smile.