Dentist. Just saying that word and reading that word brings up a lot of anxiety for people. Even for grown adults who have been visiting dentists their whole lives, or avoiding them their whole lives. I don’t know what it is about the profession that makes many people afraid (myself included), but I do know it’s quite common.
When it comes to our kids, being afraid of the dentist can be a difficult thing. We want to teach them the importance of oral care and want their experiences with the dentist to be easier than ours, but sometimes their anxiety and fear gets in the way.
If your child struggles with anxiety and fears about dental visits, they’re not alone – it’s actually quite common.
Here are some simple tips on how to help ease the fear your child has of the dentist that will make the process easier on all of you:
- Find a Dentist That is Good With Kids – A good dentist really goes a long way when it comes to dental fears. Find someone through recommendations who is good with kids. Usually pediatric dentists are great with kids and have great offices set up.
- Often Remind Them of the Importance of Oral Health – Have regular conversations about why it’s important to brush and floss and visit the dentist. Talk regularly, because then it won’t seem so out of the norm to take care of your teeth.
- Be Sure to Make Regular Dental Visits – The more regularly they visit (every 6 months), the less afraid they will be because it will become less unknown.
- Explain in Ways They Understand – Let your child know what to expect, but in terms they understand. Tell them, or ask the dentist to tell them, what they’re doing and what to expect so they won’t be so afraid.
- Don’t Share Your Own Fears – If you have a fear of the dentist, be careful never to share that with your kids. If you do, it could very well make them more afraid and stressed.
- Tell the Dentist – If your child is feeling anxious or afraid, let the dentist know. They may be able to help ease their fear and treat them with a little more care.
- Avoid Using Scary Words – Kids and scary words don’t really get along well. Avoid using words like “hurt” or “freezing” or “shot” with your kids if you think it could make them more anxious.