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Five tips to help your child overcome their fear of dental visits

Posted by LITTLE BYTES PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY on Dec 23 2020, 10:11 PM

Is your child afraid of routine dental checkups? Is the trip to the dentist makes your child anxious?  You are not alone in this! Many parents have opened up that their child is "terrified" of the visit to the dentist; they either show reluctance to go to the dental office or won't open their mouth at the dentist, and some kids scream at the dentist! Nothing much to worry about this; these are quite natural and predictable responses. Your child can suffer from anxiety when it comes to meeting strangers, especially a stranger sticking tools in their mouth!

However, it is never good to postpone or cancel the child's dental visits because they are anxious about one. Here are a few tips that can help ease your child's fear of their dental appointments.

  • Have your child meet the dentist beforehand.

If possible, try to schedule a meeting between your child and the dentist before the appointment. This will help the child to get acquainted with the dentist and shed-off the fear of him as a stranger. Many children have anxiety meeting a new person; this introductory meeting will allow your child time to build a relationship with their dentist and ease some anxiety before the appointment. 

  • Create positive reinforcement for your child.

Positive reinforcement can help to make your child's dental visit a pleasant one. If your child isn't a fan of dental visits, give them a positive reinforcement after their appointment; let them associate a positive reward with their trips to the dentist. For example, reward your child with a movie or consider taking them to the playground after their dental appointment. Let them associate with something positive after every dental visit. Let them grow up and older and realizing that the dentist and the dental visits aren't so bad.

  • Choose your words wisely. 

Never scare your child with daunting words like 'pain,' 'drill,' etc.; the words you use around your child can strongly affect the way he or she perceives a situation. Talk to them using positive words - tell them that the dentist is just counting your child's teeth, not examining them to clean the sugar off their teeth. Choose positive words that your child can easily associate with, so they can understand that this will be a positive, pain-free experience. 

  • Explain to your child why a dentist visit is important.

If your child is old enough to understand things, one of the most effective ways to ease their dental anxieties is through education. Make them understand in a positive way why dental visits are necessary to have clean, beautiful teeth. Help your child learn the consequences if they don't visit their dentist or brush their teeth regularly! 

  • Start early. 

The earlier your child visits the dental office, the better. This will help your child have a familiarity with the team and the surroundings, whether it's for a preventive visit or an emergency. 

All these in-home preparations can help to make your child's next dental visit a pleasant one. You can even practice a mock appointment at home using a toothbrush or tongue cleaner. This will help them understand that dental procedures won't hurt. Be understanding with your child; choose positive, calming words when describing the dentist and dental appointments. Consider a mock appointment in your own home, using a toothbrush to count each tooth. This shows your child that a dental checkup isn't complicated and won't hurt!

At Little Bytes Pediatric Dentistry, we place significant emphasis on your child's comfort throughout the dental appointment to make them feel relaxed all through the procedure. Reach out to us today or request an appointment to have your child's next dental visit a pleasant one.

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