Dental anxiety is a common concern among people, especially in kids.
From a child’s point of view, a trip to the dentist is terrifying—they lie on a chair in a strange room, as a stranger pokes cold, metallic tools in their mouth. But helping your kid overcome their dental fear should not be hard work. Below are some tips that can help ease their irrational fear, and prevent it from developing into odontophobia later in life.
Start While They’re Young
Take your child to the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears. Doing so helps them to become familiar with the dentist office at an early age; it also helps them feel comfortable, and build trust with their dentist.
Make sure, however, that you find a child-friendly dentist who has experience in dealing with dental anxiety patients.
Condition Your Child
Persuade your child that the dentist is not someone to be afraid of. One easy way to do it is by speaking to the dentist as though they were a friend. Don’t use words like “hurt” or “pain”—let the dental staff introduce their own vocabulary to the child.
Stick to positive words like “healthy”, “strong”, and “clean” as well to get them excited about the visit.
Teach Them Good Oral Hygiene
Emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene, and set expectations of what keeping strong and healthy teeth looks like—brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly.
Teach your kid that visiting the dental office is a necessity, not a choice. Remind them that dentists are friendly doctors for the teeth, and that they will help prevent cavities and ensure a beautiful smile for years to come.
Dental fear is real, and you need to do something about it. May the tips above help your child overcome this fear to get started on the road to dental wellness.