Being fearful of the dentist is common for children (and adults). However, most adults can attribute their fear to a bad experience at the dentist, young children often cannot. Most of the time, children fear the unknown, or they may have heard horror stories from the adults in their lives.
If your little one is preparing for their first visit to the dentist, and is feeling a little nervous, check out these five tips on how to ease and overcome their dental fear:
Tell a story about a good experience you’ve had at the dentist
Many children fear the dentist because of stories they may have heard from friends and family. The best way to overcome this is by sharing a story about a good experience you have had at the dentist. This could be something as simple as a teeth cleaning that went smoothly. Make sure you tell the story in a kid-friendly way. Be sure to leave out any specific details that may frighten your little one.
Practice at home
A child’s familiarity with things will provide comfort when they go in for their first appointment. Children love playing games acting as teachers and doctors, so why not offer to play dentist! All you need is a comfortable chair and toothbrush. Have your child lean back to you can brush or count their teeth, and then have them do the same for you!
Read a book or watch a TV show about a child visiting the dentist
Dora, SpongeBob and Peppa Pig all have episodes about visiting the dentist. This offers an idea of what the dentist office looks and sounds like. In most of these episodes the character feels scared of the dentist, and then realises there was nothing to be afraid about. There are also many children’s books available at local bookstores about visiting the dentist.
Be patient and understanding
The first visit to the dentist is always the hardest one. At the appointment, make sure you are there to hold your child’s hand, but also be prepared to step back if needed. Dentists have years of training and experience in looking after young patients, so trust their judgement. If you are handling the situation calmly, your child will also feel at ease.
Choose the right dentist
The most important aspect of a good dental experience is choosing the right dentist for your little one. When searching for a paediatric dentist, look for one with experience, a passion for helping young children achieve the best oral health, great patient reviews, and a priority for patient comfort.
At Soothing Care Dental, we are the family dentist Five Dock locals trust, and always treat our young patients with the utmost care and aim to ensure all children have an enjoyable experience at the dentist! For more information call us on 02 8331 6699.