Fear can be defined as a feeling of apprehension at something that could pose as a danger or threat, or that is perceived to be one. Anxiety can be simply defined as a feeling of uneasiness that causes an individual to worry or be concerned about something that is yet to happen. It could also be defined as the fear of the unknown. One thing that worries most parents of toddlers is the visit to the dentist. The day when your normally happy and cheerful child turns into a crying, tantrum-throwing mess. If you are clueless on how to make your child’s trip to the dentist a little easier, keep reading.
Dentists are professionals who are trained to take care of teeth and gums; diagnose teeth and gum diseases, extract a bad tooth or teeth, insert artificial ones, clean the teeth, and give advice on how to maintain good dental hygiene.
For their work, the best dentist in Weston Fl. use instruments that have an appearance that may cause the average adult to be frightened, so it is not out of place to see your child recoil in fear or outrightly scream and cause a scene at the sight of the dentist or their instruments.
Although we know that for all the child’s fears and anxiousness, visits to the dentist are important for good oral hygiene. These visits can become a dreary affair if your child has to cause a scene for half the time of the visit before being able to get checked.
Tips To Help You Ease The Fear And Anxiety Of Dentists In Your Child
1. Explain What A Dentist Visit Entails and Why They Need It
Using simple and easy-to-understand language, gently explain to your child why it is important for them to visit the dentist. You can tell them that visits to the dentists will help them to get rid of stains in their teeth that can make them feel embarrassed when they smile. Tell them that without a visit to the dentist, they can have bad germs that can cause a toothache and prevent them from being able to eat their favorite snacks or food. Nevertheless, with a visit to the dentist, they can get their stained teeth all cleaned and healthy so they can smile as wide as they want to.
It is always helpful when the parent explains the situation to the child before the visit to the dentist. However, ensure you do not overshare or use words like “pain” or “shots” to prevent instilling fear in the child.
2. Play-Act Before an Appointment
To help ease the fear and anxiety of dentists in your child, you can act out an appointment with you playing the role of the dentist and the child playing the patient. Have your child sit on a chair and use some kitchen utensils that resemble a dentist’s instruments. Be careful though, do not use any sharp, huge, or scary objects near the child. Talk to them in a calm and soothing voice as you pretend to check their teeth and remember to say, “Well done!” and “Good job!” as a way of positively applauding them. You can also switch roles and have your child act as the dentist with one or some of their toys as the patient. This way, your child begins to understand what is involved in a dentist’s appointment and this reduces any feeling of dread in them.
3. Take Their Favorite Toy with Them to an Appointment
Every child has that one toy that they are attached to and holds on to no matter what emotion they are experiencing at that moment. Take your child’s favorite toy along with them to the appointment. The toy can help them stay calm or be a momentary source of distraction to them while the dentist prepares his instruments.
4. Choose a Pediatric Dentist
It is advisable to choose a pediatric dentist for your child’s appointments. This is because pediatric dentists are specially trained to handle their child patients. They are extra-patient and gentle with children. They also have child-friendly terms to describe things. Most pediatric dentist offices are decorated with child-friendly backdrops and generally, have a child-friendly environment. This can help calm and reassure an anxious child. In addition, some pediatric dentists make provision for toys and games for kids; this can help your child relax and put them totally at ease at the dentist’s office.
5. Be prepared for a fuss
In the end, brace up mentally for a fuss. You are going to have to be as patient as you can, stay calm, and soothe the child in a gentle voice. Be positive with your words and remember to say, “well done!” and “good job!” at any slight compliance with the dentist.
What You Should Not Do
1. Do Not Promise to Give Treats or Rewards for a Dental Appointment
Promising your child a piece of candy or some biscuits may send a negative message to the child. This is because you are trying to get them to cultivate good oral hygiene, and candies and biscuits have too much sugar that is not good for their teeth.
Promising to reward them could also send a message to the child that they are having pediatric dental appointments because of the reward and not to keep their teeth healthy.
2. Do Not Yell At Your Child or Threaten Them with a Spanking to Make Them Behave Well
Even though it can get overwhelming and tiring with having to deal with a child’s tantrums and fuss at the dentist’s, try not to yell or make threats. Raising your voice or threatening your child will only worsen their fear and do nothing to ease their anxiety each time they have to visit the dentist.
You should also avoid using words such as “pain”, “hurt”, “shots” etc. because they may cause fear in the child.
Always stress the importance of a dental appointment to your child. Let them know that dental visits are not an option but a necessity. Ensure you are helping them to maintain good pediatric oral hygiene at home by constantly encouraging them to take good care of their teeth, gums, and tongue by brushing their teeth in the morning and at night. You should also encourage them to floss their teeth.