If someone asked you to finish the phrase “fear of…”, maybe your answer would be one of the most common in the same survey, and that is – fear of the dentist. It occurs in both children and adults. It can be a tolerable feeling of discomfort whenever you need to go for an examination or intervention, and it can also reach the level of phobia. When it occurs in children, it is most often that adults have unknowingly contributed to it.
How to prevent that and what to do if the child is already afraid of going to the dentist? Here are some practical tips to help you get your child to go with you to the dentist’s office for regular dental checkups.
Find a Good Pediatric Dentist
Your dentist, who you go to every year and in whom you have endless trust, can also become your son’s or daughter’s dentist. As the folks at boutiquedental.co.nz suggest, the focus of a good dentist should be on providing high-quality dental care and treatment in a safe and comfortable environment. For a child, that is especially important. Children are special patients. You need to know how to always have patience with them.
Talk to the dentist beforehand and emphasize that this is the child’s first visit to the dentist. Some dental practitioners pay special attention to the environment and tailor it to children’s needs. There are toys in the waiting room, and sometimes the walls are colorful, with heroes and children’s motifs drawn on them. This helps the child feel more relaxed.
Never Talk about Your Bad Experiences with the Dentist
Children hear what you say, even when they don’t seem to be listening. Be careful not to mention dentists, dental checkups, painful interventions, and anything bad about dentistry in front of them. While you are complaining over the phone to a friend about how you have a toothache and how you barely survived the operation to remove the cyst, a child who is rolling around and playing registers it all. Although they do not understand every word, they will realize that you have felt something bad and unpleasant, and that has to do with teeth and dentists. Who knows how they will interpret all that in their head?
Also, don’t let others mention going to the dentist in a negative context in front of your child. Fear of dentists is not innate, it is created thanks to the influence of the environment.
Schedule Your Child’s First Check-Up
The first examination should be an introduction to the dentist. On that occasion, the dentist does not remove the child’s deciduous teeth, nor do they have to repair the teeth if necessary. On this occasion, the child only needs to experience what it is like to sit on a dental chair and should know how to listen when the dentist asks him or her to open their mouth wide.
They will also see the instrument that the dentist uses to see the teeth from all angles, and the round mirrors will be especially interesting to children. That is enough for the first visit to the dentist. Break the ice.
Never Do Anything By Force
If your child flatly refuses to go to the dentist, there is probably a reason why you are not even aware of it. Maybe she or he once heard something without you even knowing it, or misinterpreted a story about teeth and dentists. Do not blame yourself or others if the child already has fear.
As much as you are aware of the importance of going to the dentist, do not force your child to go, blackmail, and threaten. Talk to them slowly and gradually and try to find out what is causing the problem.
Be an Example to Your Child
If you don’t brush your teeth regularly and never go to the dentist except when you have a toothache, why would your child think it should? When you tell your child to go for a check-up at the dentist’s office, remind them that you have already been, or take them with you when you go so they can remember. A child who watches you diligently brush your teeth use dental floss, and mouthwash will take dental and oral hygiene seriously. They will want to imitate you and will only adopt the habit of brushing their teeth as soon as they get up and before bed.
These practical tips will help you build your child’s awareness of proper dental care from a young age. By applying them, you will benefit because it is always much better to prevent than to cure.
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