Now that you have a little one, you're going to need to make sure that they receive all the medical and dental care they'll need to stay healthy. Unfortunately, little ones don't always like the dentist. In fact, they can be downright terrified of the dentist, especially if their first visit required dental work. You can help your child avoid dental fear by following the simple tips provided here.
One of the easiest ways to avoid dental fear is to start dental care early. If you wait until your child needs dental work, they'll automatically equate the dentist with pain. By starting dental care early, your child will have the opportunity to build a relationship with their dentist before they ever need dental work. In fact, by starting early, your child might be able to avoid the need for serious dental work like fillings and root canals. Most dentists agree that children should have their first visit to the dentist by their first visit, even if they don't have their first tooth yet.
When you take your child to the dentist, there's no need to go into details. In fact, it's better for your child if you avoid details altogether. Simply tell your child that you're going to the dentist. Telling your child that they need dental work or shots can create anxiety, which may make your child apprehensive about the dentist. The less details you give your child about the visit, the less anxiety your child will experience.
Kids love to pretend during playtime. You can make playtime a learning adventure for your kids. Before your little one goes to the dentist, allow them the opportunity to play dentist with their toys – or with you. Give them a clean toothbrush and a bib, that they can use to examine your teeth. By playing dentist, they'll reduce the amount of fear that's associated with the dentist's office.
You might be tempted to offer a small treat if your child does well at the dentist's office. Unfortunately, that bribe may end up having the opposite effect. By offering a bribe for good behavior, your child may wonder what's so bad about the dentist's office. This is particularly true if you don't offer treats for good behavior when you take them to other appointments.
You want your child to have a positive experience with the family dental clinic. You can help them adjust to their dental care by following the tips provided here. Be sure to speak to your child's dentist about other ways to help prevent childhood dental anxiety.