Did you know that 61% of people worldwide are afraid of the dentist?
With so many adults that fear the dentist, it should come as no surprise that many children are dentophobic as well.
Do you have kids who need to go to a dental appointment soon and you’re afraid of their reactions? Then read on. We’ll give you some tips on how to ease their fears.
Often, the fear of the unknown is what can cause lasting anxiety and other emotional issues. This can be a cause of long-lasting dentophobia.
To help with this fear, you can go through a mock dental checkup with your kids while at home. Sit them down and gently explain what the dentist will do while using a utensil or two to stand in as dental tools.
You can then swap roles and have your children be the dentists and you be the patient. When they feel like they understand the appointments and have some control over the situations, it can help diminish their fears.
Don’t Talk Negatively About Dentists
We understand that you probably don’t really like going to the dentist. But if you have a negative attitude surrounding oral care, your kids will pick up on it.
If you’re always apprehensive about your checkups and come home saying it was “the worst thing ever,” it can have them feeling on edge about their own appointments.
This also includes avoiding any talk about pain. Just because you feel a certain degree of pain with dental procedures (such as cavity fillings) doesn’t necessarily mean your children will feel the same.
If you tell them a cavity filling will be the most painful thing they’ve ever experienced, then this can really instill fear in them prior to their appointment. In reality, it may be nothing but a pinch for them!
Don’t Sugarcoat Things Either
Your children may have some questions surrounding the dentist; this has to do with their fear of the unknown. Feel free to be honest and answer as neutrally as you can. Again, you don’t want to unintentionally put more fear into them.
However, you don’t want to sugarcoat things either. For instance, if they ask if a cavity filling is painful, you don’t want to lie and say it doesn’t hurt at all. Instead, be truthful and say that the novocaine injection can pinch a little, but that it should make it so you don’t feel anything while the dentist is putting in the filling.
Bring Them Along to Your Appointments
One of the most important things you can do is lead by example. Your children look up to you, and if they seeing you going to the dentist with no complaints, then they’ll be more inclined to do so as well.
Bringing your kids along to the dentist can also further assist with taking away the unknown. They’ll get to view you having various treatments done and coming out of them unscathed. If you can do it, then they certainly can as well!
Don’t Hide Dental Visits From Them
Ripping off a bandaid at the last second is the best plan of action right? Not when it comes to your children and the dentist.
You may be able to avoid tantrums by keeping dental appointments a secret until the very last second. But in doing so, you might be instigating the biggest meltdown possible.
Once you make their appointment, be upfront and honest about when they’re going in. Answer any questions they may have.
Reward Them for Good Behavior
You want to make the dentist and oral health a positive thing, not negative. Studies show that positive reinforcement works much better than punishment.
So give your kids something to look forward to after their appointment. But make sure you don’t promise them a reward before you bring them to the dentist. This may cause them to think that the dental office is such a bad place that you need to placate them with a reward to make up for it.
Instead, wait until the end of their checkup. Compliment them on how well they did and tell them their good behavior is deserving of a reward.
Of course, you don’t want to reward them with candy. Consider things like books, toys, or cheaper video games instead.
Stress the Importance of Oral Hygiene
Always explain to your children the importance of oral hygiene. Not just that, but make sure they understand the dentist is on their side, not against them.
It’s easy to view the dentist as some scary adult that pokes and prods their mouths. But if you frame it as the dental team being heroes, perhaps the dental office won’t seem so scary after all.
Take Them to a Pediatric Dentist
You might think a regular dentist could get your children’s dental needs fulfilled, and you wouldn’t be wrong.
However, regular dental offices tend to be more sterile looking. Not to mention the staff may not be experienced in handling children who are either crying or throwing tantrums. If your children’s fears aren’t quelled in an effective way, it can make things all that much harder in the future.
Start off on the right foot by bringing them straight to a pediatric dental practice. Here, they’ll feel comfortable in a space that caters to them. Not only will the environment be bright and playful, but the staff will know exactly how to handle difficult kids and make them 100% comfortable with dentists.
Ease Your Dentophobic Children’s Fears
Being dentophobic is very common, so chances are, your children might have their reservations about visiting the dentist. But that doesn’t mean it always has to be that way.
With our tips on easing your kids’ fears, you should have a better time convincing them to go in for regular checkups so they can have the best oral health possible.
Does your kid need a dental checkup? Then schedule an appointment with us now.