It is not uncommon for a child to have anxiety and fear about going to the dentist. If you suspect that your child is worried about going to the dentist, it is important to confront these fears with love and understanding. Here are three tips for helping your child to overcome their fear of going to the dentist.
Inform and Educate
Kids often fear most what they do not understand. Taking the time to explain the process of a trip to the dentist can go a long way in assuaging their uncertainties and anxiety. There are a number of ways that you can inform and educate your child about what is to be expected at the dentist. There are books and videos designed especially for this purpose. Many dentists are also open to the idea of scheduling a quick meet and greet so that your child can become familiar with the office before the actual appointment. Once your child understands that there is nothing to fear, the actual day of the appointment is more likely to go smoothly.
While you may be hesitant to consider sedation, laughing gas and oral conscious sedation can both make the experience more enjoyable and less traumatic for young patients. These mild sedatives will relax your child and allow the dentist to give the proper treatment. Because these sedations are designed for children, there will not likely be lingering effects once you leave the office. Sedation dentistry is a common practice in many offices and should always be an option for you.
See a Pediatric Specialist
Pediatric dentists are specially trained to approach a child’s fears about the dentist with the love and guidance that they need. These specialized dentists are also more likely to work out of a kid-friendly office with child-sized chairs and equipment designed to make it a more comfortable experience. A pediatric dentist is more likely to be aware of child-specific dentist issues, giving you peace of mind as a parent. Lastly, this specialized type of medical professional is able to give children dental hygiene tips that are relevant to them.
The earlier that you get your child accustomed to going to the dentist every six months, the more likely that they will develop a healthy relationship with these appointments. Waiting too long to schedule that first appointment or putting it off because of your child’s fears will only make the issue worse.