Some children enjoy coming to the dentist and actually look forward to it...others, not so much. Your children’s oral health is very important, but forcing a stressed, scared child into a dentist chair can be challenging. But dental anxiety is common in children and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
In extreme cases, dental anxiety can impact your child’s dental health for the rest of their life, which is why we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks to help you and your child deal with their anxiety.
- Read dental storybooks to them. Through colorful illustrations, easy to understand language, and a happy dental experience for the main character, your child can develop a better understanding of what to expect.
- Start dental visits while they’re young. Most dentists advise parents to bring their kids in for a first visit as soon as their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday. An early dental checkup is not only good for their oral health, but also helps them become familiar with the dentist office at an early age.
- Play “dentist” at home. Before taking your child to their dental appointments, it can be beneficial to practice being a dental patient leading up to the visit. Let your child role-play by pretending to be the dentist and examine and clean your teeth.
- Communicate, but keep it simple. Telling your child about a dental appointment at the last minute can increase stress and anxiety. If your child is showing signs of fear and anxiety about the dentist, be sure to give them ample time to mentally prepare themselves for the visit.
- Go to a family dentist. The advantage of working with family-focused dental clinics is that they’re prepared and experienced dealing with children and ensuring that they have a great experience.
- Teach your children the importance of great oral health and lead by example. Set expectations of what keeping healthy, strong teeth look like - brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist on a regular basis. Most importantly, you have to lead by example because children can develop their fear and pediatric dental anxiety from their parents.
We are experts at dealing with pediatric dental anxiety. If your child is afraid of going to the dentist, call today to schedule an appointment and rest assured that we will put them at ease and make it a fun experience!