Is your child scared to go to the dentist? Does your kid refuse to receive dental treatment out of fear?
Dental anxiety in children is very common with any age group. Your child’s reaction is very normal. Some children flat out refuse to sit on the chair!
“Who is that stranger trying to have a look in my mouth? What’s that he/she is holding!”
Pure terror if you can think of it this way? Let’s admit it we as parents also felt a few uncomfortable moments here and there during our life span in an unfamiliar unfriendly doctors’ office at some point in time! No?
The good news is that it’s all not lost, there is a ray of sunshine in all the gloom to help save your child’s teeth that doesn’t involve screaming, shouting and refusing treatment at the dentist’s office!
Before we speak about overcoming your child’s dental phobia, let’s talk about preventing it early first!
So whether you want to prevent dental phobia or treat it read on:
Here are 10 things to make your child a brave little patient:
Start visiting the dentist as young as you can:
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child’s first visit to the dentist should be no later than his or her first birthday. It isn’t only about identifying dental problems this early, there are none. It is about setting a “dental home” for your child where your kids dentist engages you and your child with so many fun tricks to keep those teeth clean and more importantly it will mark the start of a lifelong positive relationship between your child and his child’s dentist. Also, it can act as a great opportunity to receive some tips and recommendations to maintaining a healthy dental life.
See a Fun Pediatric Dentist:
It is best for your child to visit a specialist dentist who is specifically trained to receive children of all ages (from 1 year of age to 18 years) in the dental office. The difference is a dentist for children is specifically trained to handle a child psychologically, trained to look out for growth potential for children and knows how to care for your child’s developing teeth. In our pediatric dental office in Dubai, we use many behavioral techniques that including positive reinforcement and speaking in kid-friendly words to help overcome your child’s fears and make him/her seeing the dentist an enjoyable experience. Our pediatric dental office is bright, cheerful and full of fun entertainment and activities. When the dentist’s office is full of excitement and love; examinations and treatments become easy breezy!
Read for them lovely stories about their upcoming visit to dentist:
There are many great children’s books about going to the dentist.
This is a sure win-win. A bed time story and at the same time a good moral to the story: of being brave understanding the importance of healthy teeth knowing more about what a dentist does.
Drawing some images in their brain pro-actively at least decreases the chances for them to whip up exaggerated fear towards the dental office.
You can simply tell them that the hero of their favorite story go to the dentist. Videos about the dentist will work well.
The children’s fears of the dentist are often based on the unknown. Visiting the dentist for the first time seem a lot less scary if your child feels comfortable. Let’s play! Break out your child’s toothbrush and pretend to be the dentist while your kid is the patient. Make him sit back in a chair and count and brush their teeth. Then, switch your roles and let your child play dentist, either on you or their favorite toys.
You are a model for your child:
Recent studies show that parents can pass on their own fear of the dentist to their children. However, positive emotions can pass too so it’s too important to talk about the dentist in a happy way and avoid mentioning any fear or anxiety about dental treatment in front of your child. When you visit the dentist’s office with your child, smile and try to appear relaxed as much as you can. More importantly, please never take your child with you for your dental appointment. He/ She may get super scared as the environment is not designed with a child in mind!
Talk About it Within Reason:
The unknown plays a big factor in making kids scared of visiting the dentist. Talk with your child about the importance of oral care, what’s going to happen and what to expect. If your child seems to be surprised by unpleasant things, he/she may lose some trust in this. However, don’t say negative and frightening words like “shot” or “pain.” Ask your pediatric dentist what words they use; for example, we say terms like “sleepy juice” and “sugar bugs,” these things sound fun and less threatening.
Give Your Child some Control:
Research shows that dental phobia in children is a fear of a loss of control.
Letting your child has a sense of control can be helpful. For example we may make your child choose which tooth will be polished first or make him/her choose the flavor of the fluoride treatment.
Use Positive Reinforcement:
Praise your child for a dental exam or treatment and keep tell him/her how proud you are. Reward him with a few stickers or letting him/her choose a movie to watch that night.
Choose the Laughing Gas (or nitrous oxide):
When it comes to the chair to help ease your child’s anxiety; I always recommend administering treatment under the effect of the nitrous oxide gas. Even if it is only for a simple procedure like cleaning and fluoride. I still invite parents to use the laughing nose then too, for the simple reason that what seems easy and harmless to us, may not be perceived the same way by them. When the child sees that through the “super hero” abilities acquired there is nothing to worry about, their behavior improves tremendously next time! Tried and true formula trust me.
I would recommend getting on my instagram channel and seeing the number of children who benefited widely of the use of the nitrous oxide gas.
For more information about the gas and other ways an excellent service can be given to your child through painless dentistry, please check this blog and video: Painless Dentistry
Work on Trust and Ask For Help:
I always ask or actually plead with parents to trust the specialist pediatric dentists’ treatment plan and pace. For the simple reason is I usually am very keen to work on the trust of the child and take my time to do so and by taking baby steps towards a child’s treatment plan according to his dental needs.
If all the ways fail and your child still feel fearful of the dentist, don’t be afraid to seek help and call in advance. Ask your dentist about the options for making treatment easier. After my education in dental hypnotherapy and becoming a “hypnodontist” my chances for helping a child out of his phobia increased drastically.
In all honestly though, there still remains a few children where the fear and the phobia are a bit more serious and have more effects on a child’s life in general. In this case, my recommendation is to get a a child psychologist onboard as a team ember. Together both child doctors work holistically to help your child!
If your child is scared of the dentist, try these tips or any combination of them until you find the best ways that work for your child’s needs. If going to the dentist is a positive experience, it helps to prevent anxiety as a teen or an adolescent too and certainly as an adult!
Feel free to phone our pediatric dental office in Dubai as handling difficult dental situations is our expertise! We make visits to the dentist exciting, and kids look forward to it, which ensures that little smiles are healthy and happy.
Watch the video:
Schedule your child’s appointment today!
“To a lifetime of healthy happy smiles!”