Does your child have a fear of the dentist? If so, it’s probably making your life a little difficult. You just want to be a good parent and ensure your kids healthy, but they are throwing a temper tantrum or refusing to go every time you mention the dentist. The entire day becomes an exhausting ordeal, all because your child somehow developed a fear of the dentist.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to try to fix this. Follow the tips below and hopefully you’ll find that your kids are able to overcome their fear of the dentist and start going to their appointments with no trouble.
Don’t Take Them to Your Own Appointment
One mistake a lot of parents make is bringing their kids to their own dentist appointment. They figure if the child sees the parent going through it, they’ll see that there is nothing to be afraid of. However, this doesn’t always work. Instead your child ends up sitting in a boring waiting room, until they see a strange person poking around in their parent’s mouth.
Another problem is that if you have your own fear of the dentist, your kids will pick up on this. As you sit and wait for your own appointment your child will detect your anxieties and make them part of their own. You may not even realize you are acting differently, but your child can tell. So instead of having your child sit around with you while you’re nervous, leave your child at home so that they don’t get a bad impression of the dentist.
Find a Kid-Friendly Dentist
Along the same lines of keeping your child away from your own dentist appointments, you should work to find a dentist that is specifically for kids. Child dentists are better able to deal with kids, and they will have a waiting room that is more suitable for children. According to Dr. Callahan, a Dentist in Colorado Springs, “The dentist’s chair and dental equipment can look scary at first if they aren’t introduced in just the right way. On top of that, a typical dentist may lack the sensitivity and demeanor necessary to put your child at ease.”
So rather than waiting in a plain waiting room with just the news on TV, your kids will have some toys to play with in a colorful waiting room.This will help to take their mind off the visit and hopefully make them more comfortable. Then they’ll go meet a dentist that is friendly to children and who will know how to make them even more at ease.
Have Older Siblings Go First
If it’s one of your younger children who has a fear of the dentist, consider taking them to an appointment for their older sibling. Younger kids are always wanting to be like their older siblings, and if they can see their older brother or sister acting brave, they may be more likely to do so as well. It’s also a good idea to talk to the older sibling before they go and let them know their younger brother or sister is afraid. This will make them feel better about their own bravery and will want to show off for their younger sibling.
Show Them Videos Online
For those of you with only one kid, or who have an older child with a fear of the dentist, an alternative is to show them videos online. There are plenty of videos of kids going through routine dental checkups so that your kids can see what’s in store. This will help them to get more comfortable, as they’ll be able to see other kids going through a checkup and that there’s nothing to worry about. Here is one video to get you started.
Make a Fun Day Out of It
The last thing you can try is making the day of the dentist appointment a fun one. Go to the park, visit an aquarium, see a movie, grab some ice cream afterwards, etc. This will give your kids something to look forward to, and if you do it every time, they’ll come to look forward to dentist day. Just remember that you don’t want to set it up as a sort of bribe. If you tell your kids that you’ll take them for ice cream if they go to the dentist, they’ll see the dentist as something bad they need to get through. Rather, make it out to be just another thing to do that day in between the fun activities.
Getting a child over their fear of the dentist isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. You want to instill good dental hygiene habits in your children and going to the dentist is an important part of that. So, use the tips above the next time you need to take your kid to the dentist and hopefully you’ll find that it won’t be as difficult.