Many people dread visiting the dentist regardless of their age. Perhaps this is because of an unpleasant experience or a generalized fear that professional tooth care and dental treatment are painful. Kids generally learn this fear of the dentist from older family members. However, you must not allow fear and anxiety to overwhelm your child because it could mean a lifetime of poor or inexpert dental health care. Here are some tips to help you alleviate dental anxiety in small kids:
Speak Positively About Dental Treatment
Making threats is one of the mistakes parents make when teaching their children dental hygiene. For example, if you threaten your child with a visit to the dentist in order to make them brush their teeth or take care of their oral health, they internalize that fear. They start thinking of a visit to the dentist as something they should be afraid of instead of an event that will benefit their well-being.
Rather than using threats to encourage good oral health care, use positive reinforcement. In particular, praise the child when they brush their teeth or give them a cute sticker. In addition to preserving your child's impression of dentists, the positive reinforcement will minimize the chances of your child ending up on the dentist's chair with a condition like cavities.
Read Positive Stories About Dental Visits
Children learn how to feel about things even when they haven't experienced them in their environment. So, if your family members share stories of harrowing experiences at the dentist's office, your kids will learn to fear it. But on the other hand, if you share positive and beneficial experiences, it will be easy for the children to see that the dentist is helpful. To help you in this, you can ask the pediatric dentist for some literature regarding a dental visit to help your child ease their anxiety beforehand.
Find a Specialist
Part of the anxiety kids experience with a dentist emanates from visiting an unknown person. As a parent or caregiver, it is crucial that you research and choose a reputable specialist before trusting them to care for your child's teeth. A pediatric dentist is more qualified to handle issues connected to a child's oral health care than other dentists. They also help guide and reassure you as you help your child to develop healthy habits, helping to prevent dental health issues in children.
Bring Comforting Items During the Visit
Make the visit as comfortable for your child as possible. For instance, you can ensure that your child has a book or favorite toy during the trip. They can also bring a gadget and play a digital game.
These are straightforward yet effective ways to help children cope with dental anxiety. Consult an experienced pediatric dentist to help you navigate the various complex dental health issues with your little one.
Contact a children's dentist for more information.