10 Ways To Ease Your Child’s Fear Of The Dentist
Just last week, I took my 6-year-old to the dentist for his routine dental check up. Mr. Pitt has been the family dentist for about two generations in my family, and my son is pretty familiar with him. However, the kid before my son looked quite terrified of his turn to get checked which in turn freaked my child out.
I tried to calm him before Mr. Pitt interfered and told me that this was a normal practice among children. But he explained a few ways to me by which I could make the whole experience a whole lot smoother for the kid as well as for the dentist.
- Try to make it look like a Normal Habit: If your kid sees that visiting a dentist is just another part of your routine; he will not make a big deal out of it. Make your kids accompany to the dentist’s so that he gets accustomed to the practices and purpose of a dental clinic.
- Make it look like a hygiene necessity: Let your kid know the reason why visiting a dentist every few months is vital. You can take help of the kid’s teachers and other parents to get this message through.
- Discussion among friends: Make sure your kid knows that his friends visit the nice dentist too to maintain their oral hygiene. Once he/she sees that his/her friends do it, it won’t seem like that big a catastrophe to them.
- Don’t sugarcoat the truth: Don’t make the mistake of hiding the things your kid might experience at the dentists. Don’t give him the illusion of floating through the air when in fact he might be going in for a session of scaling. It might hinder his trust in you.
- Let him be friends with the Dentist: Once the kid familiarizes himself with the dentist, he can put his trust in him and make the work as easy as a cakewalk. For instance, refer to the dentist as ‘let the nice dentist remove the sugar bugs from your teeth.’
- Let him know you’re there for him: Sit close to the child while he is in the chair. Hold his hand if he needs comfort and be in his sight, so he is assured of being taken care of.
- Don’t bribe them: Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a kid can’t differentiate a bribe from a gift. Instead, let them know the real deal and prepare them for the actual session.
- Use your words wisely: While explaining to them how the whole process will go, make sure you eliminate words like ‘drill,’ ‘ouch,’ ‘hurt,’ ‘file’ or ‘needle’ around them. Sit them down for a real talk but do not forget they are still kids.
- Focus on the benefits of visiting the dentist: Kids will not understand the need for a dentist to file their teeth every few months if we don’t explain it to them. But the best part is that you can leave this part to the school or the dentist himself. Reaffirm whatever knowledge that your kid has gained by either of those sources, so he knows it is important to maintain oral hygiene.
- Consider a ‘pretend’ visit: Some dental clinics and dentists encourage parents to bring their child to the clinic before the actual session. In this pretend visit, the kid is made to familiarize with the environment, the process and the local dentist himself.
After practicing these methods, you shall see a change in your kid’s behavior and perception towards your child fear of the dentist.