Dental anxiety is common among children and can be very troubling for parents. It’s important to make your kid’s dentist visits as positive as possible, so their dental anxiety doesn’t continue. If you have a child that is scared of the dentist, there are things that you can do to make their experience more accessible.
With the help of a pediatric dentist near you, here are ten ways you can ease anxiety about childrens dentistry.
Children’s dentistry tips: Ease kids’ dental anxiety
Understand what your child is afraid of
Ask them exactly what it is they’re afraid of about going to the dentist. More often than not, it’s because they’ve exaggerated in their minds how a dentist visit could go. Whether it’s because an older sibling taunted them or it’s just their imagination gone wild, it helps to ask.
Be conscious of the words you use
Avoid using words that already have bad associations for them. These words could include “shot,” and “hurt,” or “pain.” Pediatric dentists and their staff usually like to play around with explanations. For example, don’t say, “your dentist is going to check for cavities.” Instead, you can just tell them, “your dentist is going to count how many teeth you have.”
Keep things simple on your first visit
As kids are the ever-curious little beings, make sure not to overload them with information on their first visit. A lot of kids can experience sensory overload, so it’s important not to overwhelm them.
Do a pretend visit to the dentist
Play pretend with your child before the first dentist appointment. Get a toothbrush and act out parts of what will happen at their visit, like counting teeth or using a mirror to check them. Then let your child play along by brushing a stuffed animal’s teeth. Immerse them in play as if they were about to go in for an exam themselves!
Let them see other people getting simple procedures
If you can, it may help for your child to see firsthand a simple check-up to reassure them that there’s nothing to be worried about. If they see that it’s a harmless thing, they might be more inclined to trust the dentist.
Help them understand what the dentist is for
Explain to your kids in simple terms what a dentist’s job is. Better yet, when you visit your pediatric dentist, they’ll be able to explain it to them. Assure your children that the dentist, much like the doctor, is there to help them.
Have patience and be prepared for a tantrum
A child’s fussing can be frustrating during a dental exam, but the parent or caregiver needs to remain calm. The dentist and her staff have likely worked with many children before, so they are familiar with these scenarios! It may help if you ask them what strategies might work in this situation so that your little one remains safe and comfortable.
Use distraction techniques
Most dental offices nowadays offer either music or video to play while getting a procedure done. It may help to keep those in your back pocket just in case. If your child also has any comfort toys, it may help to bring them along during your appointment.
Communicate with them what exactly will happen
Give them a play-by-play of what possible things will happen at the dentist. The fewer surprises, the better. Simply explain to them step-by-step how their dentist visit may go. Some kids may like surprises, but not in the case of children’s dentistry.
When having a procedure done, let them take breaks
If your child gets overwhelmed easily, let them know that they can take a break if they want to. Depending on the procedure, your pediatric dentist may also encourage it. If your child needs a more serious procedure, it may help to ask the pediatric dentist about sedation for children’s dentistry.
Whether you’re just in for your kid’s pediatric teeth cleaning or a simple check-up, we are a quick “children’s dentistry near me” Google search away! Our dentist in Toronto will be happy to welcome new patients for children’s dentistry. The earlier you come to see us, the sooner we can build a good relationship together. Call Downtown Dentistry today for an appointment!
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