Having a fear of the dentist can drastically affect your child’s dental health in later life. Helping your child to gain a positive view of their dentist will enable them to be comfortable at the dentists and so will encourage them to visit regularly and take good care of their teeth.
It is important for children to develop a good sense of awareness for their dental care and to squash any fears that the dentist might bring.
Start from an early age
The earliest you should take your child to the dentist is when their first tooth has come through. You should then make an appointment every six months for a family trip to the dentist. Make the visits fun, and choose a friendly, open dentist for your child. If they are not comfortable around your child, then your child will not be comfortable around them. Most dentists offer stickers for sitting well which help to ease nay tension and help your child enjoy the experience.
Do not take your child to any of your scary appointments, for example fillings, or root canals. Even though you may not be worried about them, the sounds and the actions of the dentist can be terrifying for a child who does not understand what is happening and may cause them to think negative thoughts about the going to the dentist in future.
Give yourself lots of time
Rushing = stress. Stress in any form should not feature into your children’s view of the dentists. Take time off work or make appointments at sensible times. Ensure you have plenty of time to get to the dentists and have activities for children in long waiting rooms.
Get your child into dental hygiene routine
Good teeth equal no scary procedures. As well as setting your child’s dental hygiene up for life, following some simple steps will allow you to keep your child out of the dentist’s chair.
Avoid making brushing and dental visits a chore, encourage your child and give them positive feedback when there doing things right. Children love praise and to know they have done well, so make sure you give them this praise and attention soon after visiting the dentist.
Give good explanations
If the dentist has said he needs to pull teeth, then it is important to explain what this will entail and also why it is happening. This will encourage children to be responsible for their future dental hygiene.
It is important to try and not scare your children into brushing, but make them aware of the importance of brushing and dental hygiene.
Make it child friendly
There are lots of ways to introduce dental care to children, books on going to the dentists and using dolls or small world toys to represent what might happen are fantastic ways to introduce the dentist to children. You could also invest in a dressing up kit for the dentist and act out what happens together.
Whatever you do stay positive. If your children are still scared, just persevere, or maybe ask around friends whose children don’t mind the dentist and can proudly show off their dentist stickers. Don’t treat the dentist as something that doesn’t really matter, particularly when your child is able to go for free. NHS dentists can be hard to find but it’s not impossible, so go onto your NHS website and find out details on local dentists.