Grown men and women have been known to hesitate at the thought of a routine teeth-cleaning, so it’s understandable that your child may find a dentist visit rather daunting. Have no fear—there are several ways to help turn that fear-packed frown upside down.
Dentists are trained to treat patients of all ages and after two or three visits, your child will become more familiar with the dentist routine. If you are unsure about where to find a dentist for your child, ask around for a recommendation on one who is good at handling nervous youngsters. Your friends, work colleagues, or your local doctor may be a good source to obtain a recommendation.
Be a Role Model
An excellent way to prepare your child for regular dental visits for cleaning and check-ups is to take him/her along to one of your own visits. If you smile, are comfortable and perhaps even show your child that it can be fun, he/she may find that much of the fear is forgotten. By accompanying you, your child can learn how a trip to the dentist can prevent health problems as she gets older.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to a study by Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden, about half of the adult population in the world suffers from some degree of dental fear, and 5% suffer from severe dental fear. Based on their studies, approaching the situation with humor is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress.
Humanize the Dentist
A dentist’s mask can be scary for a child visiting the dentist for the first time. If on your own visit, you take the time to introduce the dentist and personalize him, he will cease to be a stranger. It helps if you find something in common. For example: “This is Dr. Lee. He has a dog, just like us! Would you like to see a photo?”
By introducing your child to routine check-ups from an early age, rather than waiting to treat a painful problem, your child will learn that a dentist visit is not always associated to pain.
Treats for Bravery
A reward always goes a long way in putting a smile on a child’s face. Make a deal before the visit: If your little one can stay brave throughout the visit he will receive a treat, like a visit to her favorite restaurant, or a new book. You can even make it a game—for every smile that you see your child make at the dentist, you can reward her with points that she can redeem for something special.