5 Ways To Make Your Child Feel Safe At The Dentist
When it comes to your child, you don't want anything horrible to befall them. Even if your child has nothing to fear, there are plenty of things that may insight fear in him or her. Going to the pediatric dentist's office is one of those things. Imagine hearing, for the first time, that someone's going to examine your teeth! It sounds downright scary; in fact, some adults still experience a bit of fear while going into the dentist's office. Luckily, there are ways you can ameliorate this process for your child. Throughout the course of this article, you'll learn about 5 ways to make your child feel safe at the dentist office.
The Younger The Better
The younger you bring your child into the dentist's office, the better that experience will be. If you wait until the last minute – which is to say several years into your child's life – you may find that he or she has had time to let this fear grow and has probably had the chance to experience fear in the past, which serves to make that experience even stronger. Generally speaking, it is best to start your child as soon as possible. Usually, you can start bringing a child into the dentist's office 6 months after the appearance of their first tooth.
Ignorance Is Bliss
Although it is generally agreed upon that you should not spring a dentist's visit onto your child at the last minute, it is probably best to leave all of the details of such a visit in the dark. The more questions that are raised throughout the discussion may lead to discussion of complex treatments that your child will most likely not experience at his first or second dentist visit. When a discussion about fillings comes into the equation, then this is probably a sign that you have revealed too much about the experience.
When discussing the dentist visit with your child, watch which words that you use. Words like "shot", "pain" or "hurt" can create a serious sense of anxiety and fear within your child. It is best, in these situations, to actually let the dentist's staff take care of such questions. They have developed their own vocabulary which explains to the child the situation, but avoids using "scary" words that tend to make children fearful of an experience that will ultimately improve their health.
A role playing visit is one way to alleviate the fear that your child might have regarding a dentist visit. All you need is a toothbrush and a mirror. Simply open up your child's mouth, and, with toothbrush in hand, begin counting his or her teeth. Then, hold up a mirror so that the child can see his or her teeth. It's as simple as that. It is important that you don't play pretend with any of the more complex treatments, such as fillings. Fake drilling sounds can only serve to exacerbate the child's fears.
Don't Try To Relate
This one may seem counter intuitive. What better way to empathize with your child than to tell them that you've been there and done that? The big problem with this is that you risk getting into grittier dentist stories than is truly necessary. Tales of fillings and root canals are commonplace with your parents who are attempting to relate to their children and make their experience seem more universal. Your child's first dental experience doesn't have to be awful, scary or anxiety inducing for them, and by extension, you. Hopefully, this brief article has given you some insight on how you can ameliorate this experience for them and make your child's first dental experience a good one.