Although going to the dentist is usually not anyone’s favorite activity, children may be particularly fearful. Depending on your child’s age, personality and past dental experiences, a child’s fear may range from mild anxiety to extreme fear. Your child may display their fear by screaming, having tantrums or crying. Older children may make excuses on why they can’t go when appointment time comes. Helping a child with a fear of the dentist, can help the exam or procedure go more smoothly. There are some things parents can do to help ease a child’s fear of going to the dentist.
1, Talk about the importance of going to the dentist. Explain good oral hygiene and regular dental visits can prevent future painful procedures. In young children, consider reading picture books about going to the dentist.
2, Consider going to a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have experience working specifically with children. Dental assistants and office staff will also have experience with young patients. The office may be setup with an environment which will make kids feel at ease
3, Explain procedures in age appropriate terms. Use words a child will understand. It will not be necessary to go into a lot of detail. This can be overwhelming to a child. Explaining what will happen will help a child know what to expect and may lessen fears. In older children ,such as a teenagers, allow then to help in the decision making. For instance, whether they need sedation for a procedure.
4, Answer questions. Ask your child if he has any questions. Try to do your best to answer honestly. If your child asks if something will hurt. don’t lie if you know it will. Try to explain it may be uncomfortable, but medicine can help.
5, Don’t talk about your own fear of going to the dentist. Going to the dentist may be something you dread yourself. However, don’t talk with your child about bad experiences you had or how you hate to go. Remember you are a role model and hope to ease your child’s fears.
6. Be open with your child’s dentist about the fear your child is having. Informing the dentist will help her work with your child to help make him feel more comfortable.
7. Keep in mind, it is perfectly normal for children to be afraid of the dentist. Be patient. Work together with your child’s dentist to help ease fear.
8. If your child’s dentist is not considerate and patient about easing your child’s fears, it may be time to find a new dentist.