A dentist is usually one of the kid’s greatest fears. Some kids think that dentists are trying to harm them. Thus, if it is time for them to have a dental visit, fear prevails. As a parent and guardian to these young children, we should assure them that dental visits are needed and that they have nothing to be scared of when visiting a dentist.
Here are some tips to keep your kids from getting scared and feel anxious when it is time for them to have a dental checkup.
Tell them that you are going to the dentist.
It would be best to inform your child that you are going to the dentist before driving there. Telling them in advance will help them to adjust and transition into unfamiliar situations. It will also help them to prepare themselves for the most dreaded time for them. Telling them that dental visits are necessary will help them understand the importance of dental checkups.
Let them express their fear of dentists to you and answer their questions. Giving them the assurance that you support them and their fear of the dentist is valid will slowly change their mindset about going to the dentist. Also, limit the amount of details you disclose to them. Dentists have a unique way on how they explain the process to kids. It is non-threatening and also easily understandable for their age.
Use positive language.
Kids have different ways of perceiving messages. If you constantly positively talk to them, they will have a better and more positive mindset. But if you do otherwise, they will also have a negative way of thinking. It is the same with encouraging them to visit the dentist. Suppose you constantly talk about having a dental checkup and positively meeting the dentist. In that case, they will slowly learn to understand that it is not scary to visit dentists. Although you should limit what details you tell them, making the dentist a ‘better” character will increase the chances that they will accept that they need to visit a dentist.
Use positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement helps a child to act how you want them to act. If you want them to behave in the dentist, you should not reward them because they did not cry or fuss while visiting the dentist. Instead, try a different approach. Do not reward them because they did not cry, but reward them because they were respectful with the dentist and obedient. Using candy and other sweets also undermines the dentist’s message in avoiding sugar for oral health. Positive reinforcement is helpful, but you should know how to use it with kids properly.
Suppose your kid is inconsolable, no matter how you try to make them understand that there is nothing to fear. In that case, you might need to use other methods like conscious sedation. This is done by using laughing gas. It is a safe and effective sedative to keep a child calm during a dental procedure. The purpose of the laughing gas is to keep the child calm and proceed with any dental procedure without accidents. They do not need any medical assistance when laughing gas is used. They can breathe normally and will have no recollection of what happened the next day.
If the child is diagnosed with anxiety, they should visit a professional. Sometimes it is not only fear of the dentist or a dental procedure that makes them anxious. Maybe there are other reasons for their anxiety, and it is essential to know if there is to help them cope with it.
It is pretty normal for kids to feel scared when visiting a dentist. Everyone has experienced it during their childhood. Sometimes we fear dentists because of a bad experience, or someone has a scary story about them. But as a responsible parent and guardian, you need to assure them that going to a dentist is safe. Keep them company if you need to. It is also important that the dental professional understands a child’s dental needs and how to deal with them.