How to Manage Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist?
It’s important to know that children aren’t afraid of the dentist innately. Not usually, anyway. Either they heard something, felt your fear as a parent, watched a movie where someone had an unpleasant dentist experience, or someone expressed fear when they mentioned their first dentist visit. If this isn’t the child’s first visit, it’s also possible that their first experience wasn’t the most enjoyable. The child may then remember this, and therefore anxiety could’ve ignited within them about going to the dentist.
As adults, we cannot always protect our children from experiencing some of the above. What we can do is help them have a more positive experience in the future. If your child has a fear of the dentist, here are some tips we can offer as a Del Mar family dentistry:
Tip #1: Understand What Caused Their Fear
If you have an idea of where their fear came from, talk to them about it. Make it fun! If you need to, use props and toys to grab their attention. But remember: making it fun doesn’t mean dismissing or diminishing their fear. Be honest about it. If you’ve had the same fear, tell them how you were able to overcome it.
If you don’t know where their fear came from, talk to them. Be gentle and don’t probe. Understand that your child may not yet have the words to express where their fear originated. Be patient and create trust.
Tip #2: Keep It Positive
We all know going to the dentist is a healthy habit that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Even though we’ve experienced oral pain at times in our lives, let your child know that although this seems like a negative thing, it’s actually quite positive.
A great explanation for pain is that our bodies are trying to tell us something is going on. Tooth pain is our teeth’s way of telling us they need some attention, kind of like when a toddler cries. Crying means the baby is in need of something. The same goes with teeth. If they didn’t hurt sometimes, we wouldn’t be able to tell what’s going on!
This is why we go to the dentist when our teeth hurt. The dentist has the ability to listen to what our teeth are saying. When our teeth don’t hurt, we also go to the dentist to make sure our teeth are happy. We recommend talking to your children about dentist visits in a way that makes sense, and they will listen.
Tip #3: Communicate with Your Dentist
If your child is afraid of the dentist, tell your dentist. This doesn’t have to happen in front of your child, or it can if you and your child are comfortable talking to the dentist about it together. This will alert your family dentist to be aware of the situation. Dentists don’t want children to be afraid of them and are usually more than willing to help.
Who Are We?
We are Smiles by the Sea, your local Del Mar family dentistry. Our gentle professionals will ensure that your child’s visit to the dentist is fun and carefree, while respecting and listening to their needs. If this is your child’s first visit to the dentist’s chair, we have the expertise necessary to make it a great visit and educate your child so that no fear is present after. We like to make the education of your child’s oral care a priority for you and your child.
Give us a call today and allow us to show you why we’re the leading Del Mar family dentistry. We look forward to seeing yours and your child’s smile!