Dentists can be scary for a lot of people, especially younger children. Whether your child just won't open their mouth when they get to the dentist or they scream and are absolutely terrified to go to the dental office, there are ways you can make things go a bit smoother for your child. Here are a few of them.
Schedule a Meeting with the Dentist Ahead of Time
Schedule a meeting with the dentist prior to their dental appointment so that your child has a chance to bond with the dentist. A lot of kids experience anxiety when they meet people that they do not know, so an introductory meeting can help ease some of that anxiety before the dentist ever works on your child. Ultimately, this step is to ensure that your child realizes that the dentist is a regular person who is nice and friendly and wants to help him or her achieve a healthy smile.
Offer Positive Reinforcement
After each dental appointment, you should try to provide your child with positive reinforcements. Try to ensure that your child associates positive rewards with trips to the dental office. For instance, after each dental appointment, take them to the park, get some ice cream, go to a movie, or go to the store and let them pick out a new toy. Whatever you decide, you are trying to show your child that there will be something positive at the end of the dental appointment. The older your child becomes and the more your child realizes that going to the dentist is not actually a bad thing, the positive rewards will become less necessary.
Use Positive Words for the Dentist
Children listen to the words their parents say, and the words you say can impact how your child perceives and the way they react to a certain situation. Therefore, when you are talking about the dentist, you want to avoid certain words like "shot," "drill," and "pain". These words are intimidating and scary to children, which can cause your child to be scared of going to the dentist. Instead, let your child know that the dentist is simply going to be counting his or her teeth, cleaning the sugar off his or her teeth, and doing other positive things, making it sound like the dentist appointment will be fun and pain-free.
For more information on how you can make your child's dental appointment as smooth, positive, and pain-free as possible, talk to a children's dental practice in your area.