A trip to the dentist is a stress-inducing experience for many adults, so you can hardly blame children for being ever-so-slightly reticent when it comes time for them to make the trip.
It’s a common occurrence for children to find dentists frightening. After all, the place is full of people who look like doctors, and there’s a lot of scary-looking equipment around. But with a few, simple steps, you can prepare your child for a trip to the dentists and make the experience as stress-free as possible for everyone involved.
Set an Example
Anyone who has children knows that they absorb and take in everything their parents do. And how you treat dental hygiene and dentists can have a positive impact on your young one.
The best course of action is to make things like brushing and flossing an everyday, run of the mill occurrence. If your child sees dental hygiene as important and something they do every day, they will be more willing to accept a trip to the dentist.
At the same time, you also need to be consistent in your approach to dental visits. If you put off going because you’re feeling anxious, your child will pick up on this and run with it. So, be upfront that there is nothing to fear at the dentist and your child will trust your judgement.
It’s never too early to start talking to your child about the dentist and what goes on there. This can include telling them about what you’ve had done and what happened. When they see you’re perfectly fine, the fear factor will drop right away.
It’s a good idea to focus on the non-invasive, beneficial things that happen at the dentist, like check-ups and cleanings, reassuring your child that there is nothing to fear. And if your child does need something like a filling, removal, or braces, be honest with them that it might hurt, but also let them know that it will be over quickly and that dentists and orthodontists are experts at what they do.
This is perhaps the most important point on this list, and a little comfort can go a long way toward making a visit to the dentist much less scary.
Tell your child that it’s okay to be nervous or scared and offer them physical comfort when they need it. Bringing a favourite toy or blanket from home can work wonders, making your child feel safer when they’re in a scary, new environment.