Some kids really do enjoy going to the dentist, but many other kids, not so much. While the oral health of your kid is extremely vital, forcing a scared and stressed kid to go to the dentist is a challenging task. Plus, you wouldn’t really want to force your kid, anyway, since this could actually make them more resistant.
It’s crucial to note though that dental anxiety in kids is very common — ask any practitioner of pediatric dentistry in South Bend, and they will likely all tell you the same thing. But, it is not an unwinnable challenge to get your child to look forward to dental visits. Here are some useful tips to help reduce your child’s dental anxiety.
Start Them Young
Majority of dentists recommend that you bring your young one for his or her first dental checkup before their first birthday or when his or her first tooth surfaces. Starting routine dental checkups at an early age helps build a bond of trust between your child and their dentist.
Read Books to Your Kid
Specifically, read books that tell stories about visiting the dentist. Through kid-friendly language, colorful drawings, and happy dental experiences of the central character, your kid may better understand how his or her dental checkup would go.
Play Dentist with Your Kid
Let your child pretend to be the dentist, while you pretend to be the patient, and vice versa. This way, your kid will have a better idea of what to expect during an actual visit. Let your child play dentist with his or her stuffed animals and dolls, as well.
Tell Your Kid What to Expect
Tell your child about his or her upcoming dental checkup weeks in advance, instead of springing it on them at the last minute. This will ease their anxiety and stress. In the event that you notice your kid showing signs of anxiety and fear about the visit, don’t hesitate to ask why so that you could acknowledge their feelings and try to give them specific information. Instead of saying a more general “everything’s going to be fine,” say “the dentist just needs to see and count your teeth to see if they’re doing fine.”
Above all, however, you need to lead by example. Your kid could easily develop dental anxiety if you yourself show that you’re scared or anxious about your dental appointment. Consider taking your kid with you for your routine dental checkup, so they’ll have a better idea of what to expect on their checkup. Additionally, take your time and get professional help if your kid is exhibiting severe dental anxiety.