Going to the dentist can even be stressful for adults, so it’s not surprising that it can cause some anxiety in children too.
Here are some things that you can do to help set your child at ease:
- Choose a dentist who has a great reputation of being gentle with kids.
- Get them in the habit of practicing good oral hygiene at home so that they will understand why they are going to the dentist. You can tell them that the dentist just needs to make sure that all of their hard work brushing and flossing is keeping their teeth and gums nice and healthy. Not to mention, the better they take care of their teeth at home, the more smooth sailing their appointment will be.
- Make it sound like an exciting thing to be able to go to the dentist. In other words, you don’t want them to overhear you saying anything negative about your own dental visits. Even if you don’t think they’re paying attention, kids pick up on things! Let them ask questions and address any fears that they may have vs. sweeping them under the rug. It can cause them more anxiety if they feel like you are avoiding answering them.
- When you get to the dentist, be sure to act calm with a pleasant demeanour. This will help your child stay calm too.
- It is a great idea to make appointments first thing in the morning if possible, as kids may be fussier later in the day. Ensure they get a good sleep the night before.
- Bring their favourite toy or book to preoccupy them while sitting in the waiting room.
- Stay next to them when they are in the dental chair and give them positive reinforcement for their good behaviour. It will also help to distract them if there is a TV in the room.
- Be sure to take them for regular dental cleanings and checkups every six months. The more they go to the dentist, the more they will get used to it and feel comfortable about going.