How to Make a Trip to the Dentist a Fun Experience for Kids?
For many young kids, a trip to the dentist may be a scary experience. Although a dental check up is necessary, children can get anxious for a number of reasons. These anxieties can stem from stories they’ve heard from their peers or from internalizing their own parents’ dental anxieties. Here are some ways parents can help make going to the dentist a more pleasant for their child and for themselves.
Book Appointments Together/ Be There For Appointments:
Some children may experience anxiety when separated from their caregiver, which can add to the dental anxieties they already have. By staying by the child’s side, the parent can offer support and comfort to them. Some experts also suggest parents book their appointment with their child but to do so with caution. Some parents may subconsciously express dental anxieties which their child can sense or internalize, so be aware when using this method.
Find a Pediatric Dentist:
Pediatric dentists have more experience with children as a result of extra training in a specialized program. This means that pediatric dentists are more familiar with dental anxiety in kids and know how to properly combat it. Their offices are also usually designed to create a kid-friendly environment, which can be reassuring to the child.
Remind Your Child the Importance of Dental Hygiene:
Sometimes children may not understand that dentists are actually there to help them, so it may be useful for caregivers to explain this. It starts with teaching the child the importance of oral hygiene, and that they only have two sets of teeth in a lifetime, for which they have to take care of from an early age.
Keep Your Child in the Loop:
A child’s dental anxiety can stem from their fear of the unknown, especially if they do not remember their last visit. Parents should try to overcome this by explaining how the visit will go and can use kid-friendly pictures, if necessary. It is important that parents stay positive and be honest with their child. Parents are advised not to use language that may scare their child, including the use of some words like shots, hurt, needles, etc.
Plan a Pretend Visit:
Some dentists recommend that parents act out how a visit to the dentist will go with the child. This can be done by letting them pretend to be the dentist and the parent as the patient. The parent can then reverse roles if the child is comfortable with it. The child should also be encouraged to role play with their stuffed animals or other toys they have.
Let us know if your child has severe dental anxiety and we will try to make the experience as fun and comfortable as possible.