In America, 6.5 million people deal with fear and anxiety about the dentist.
Some of these fears and anxieties may have started when we were children, but thankfully this is preventable.
The first time you introduce your child to the pediatric dentist can be a good and happy time. Here are some clever ways to avoid your child picking up on your apprehension.
Start Their Appointments Early
The earlier you start their appointments when they’re young, the better off they will be in the future. The more frequent you have trips to the dentist, the more your child will learn that it’s not something to be scared of.
Most dentists recommend seeing a dentist and going for frequent checkups when the child is as little as three months old.
This is important because by the time they’re five or six, they will know what to expect. If you take them for the first time when they’re five and introduce them to that scary world, they could have some bad memories associated with the dentist.
However, if they’ve been going, they will most likely just see it as part of life rather than this whole new, strange world.
Don’t Use Negative Words
You may not even realize you’re using negative words when talking about the dentist, but you should try and be mindful of what words you choose.
Try not to use words associated with pain or hurting. You don’t want to lie to your children, but you want to make sure you’re not giving them an idea of what’s going to happen beforehand.
For example, when a child falls down, the baby will often start crying once they realize the parent has made a big deal about it. And the same thing can happen with the dentist.
If your child sees you panicking and freaking out, they will start to pick up on your anxiety.
Try Not to Use Bribes
When taking your child to the pediatric dentist, make sure that you try not to use bribes. This also teaches them that the dentist can be a scary experience worthy of rewarding.
If you treat it as something special and show them they were brave for going through that, they may develop a fear of it later on in their life.
On the other hand, if you don’t reward them after the visit, you’re teaching them that this is just something that happens on a regular basis, and they shouldn’t be scared of it.
If you do want to give them a reward, you will have to do it in a way that isn’t a big celebration. You could give them something small after each visit without making a big deal about it, and they may start to develop positive emotions and memories with the dentist.
But you need to be careful with how you do it.
Use a Comfort Object
If you let your child bring an object that can comfort them during this dentist appointment, you will need to make sure that it’s not a big deal.
You should only give it to them if they ask for it. Don’t bring it up and ask them if they want it, because then you will be teaching them to wonder why they would need it.
Make sure that it’s not a big or bulky toy, however. This is especially important if they are having surgery done.
Set a Good Example
If you are nervous about going to the dentist for yourself, your child will most likely pick up on that anxiety. You need to make sure you watch what you say about the dentist because they will be listening to you.
Make sure that you talk about only good things that happened with the dentist and never bring up anything bad that happened.
Stay With Them
When you take them to their appointment, make sure that you stay with them. You are most likely a source of comfort for them, and when you stay with them they will seem more comfortable.
If they see you being calm and unbothered, they will likely feel like everything is okay.
However, once they lose sight of you, they may start to panic and associate those feelings with going to the dentist from now on.
Make Sure You Choose a Kid-Friendly Dentist
When you pick a dentist, you want to make sure that they are someone who is good with kids. The staff should also be friendly and kind.
The environment should be kid-friendly and not daunting or intimidating.
You’d be surprised how much of a difference the type of office you choose can make.
Practice Good Dental Hygiene
One of the best things you can do for your child is to make sure that your child’s teeth are already good to go before the appointment.
Make sure that they brush twice a day and try to get them to start flossing, as well. This will make their visits more enjoyable because they may not need a dental filling.
Having those experiences early on as a child can install those negative memories in your child’s head.
Other things you can do to make sure your child’s teeth are healthy is to make sure that they don’t eat a lot of sugary foods. You should also limit their soda intake.
Find a Pediatric Dentist Today
As we said above, finding a good pediatric dentist will make all the difference when it comes to introducing your child to the dentist.
It can be hard to find a good dentist, but we’ve got you covered.
Check out our website to make an appointment today.