Going to the dentist is rarely a fun experience. At best, you’ve got someone rooting around your mouth with some saw-like reverse bear trap keeping your mouth open, and at worst… Well, hopefully there’s some laughing gas involved at worst.
Plenty of us, at all ages, suffer from dental anxiety, sometimes having it even stop us from going to the dentist when we need to. It would be best for the next generation to limit that fear, so that they can have at least a pleasant experience when they have to visit the dentist, and that starts with us. Read on for our guide to keeping kids calm when they need to visit the dentist.
Explain what’s about to happen
Some children would just feel better about any situation if they know what is coming. They will probably be alright with some pain and discomfort as long as they are ready for it, and some are too terrified of everything else unfamiliar about the dentist, (the gloves, the chair, the smell, etc.) that they are too scared for the actual process of whatever treatment they’re there for.
Telling your children up front about what they are about to experience will calm them, because you are calm while you tell them, so there is little to worry about. On top of that it will foster trust between you and your child, avoiding a feeling of betrayal that could come if they were to go through a painful treatment blind.
Lead by example
It’s simpler for you and your dentist to schedule a 2-for-1 appointment, with you getting checked and then your child. Why in that order? So that your child can see the process for themselves, see that mummy or daddy isn’t worried, isn’t hurt, and is right as rain once they’re off the chair again.
It also allows a curious child a quick look around. It gives them the chance to ask questions if they spot a funny tool or if they want a closer look at an x-ray. Again, it’s more the environment that will scare your child to begin with.
When looking for dentistry for kids you should think about the kind of office you are going to. Make sure it is clean, but friendly. Is your dentist friendly? Are they good with children? Consider all this when you go looking for your dentist.
Find common ground with your dentist
Let your dentist know of anything your child is particularly into. Any hobbies, food, TV shows, etc. It’ll allow your dentist to connect with your child, in turn lessening the chance of your child becoming scared of them. They can waffle on about how tough Batman is and that he wouldn’t be afraid of the dentist, and your child will gladly accept that there has been a comic where Batman went to the dentist and they should behave like him.
Perhaps take a toy to keep your child occupied in the waiting room, rather than allowing their mind to wander, causing anxiety. We all know how waiting on anything, an exam result, a big event, makes the mind run on overtime.