Getting kids to the dentist isn’t always as smooth a process as it should be. Many young children have anxiety about going to the dentist. Even some adults still harbor concerns before they take a seat on the dentist’s chair. As a parent, it is not difficult to appreciate the importance of your kids’ dental health from an early age. But if your child is terrified of visiting the dentist, this can feel like an uphill struggle. Tackling irrational fears and anxieties can help introduce children to a lifetime of good dental health.
Your child’s fear of the dentist often comes from the feeling of being trapped. The chair is something they may associate with pain, or the clinical environment might just seem a little daunting for them. Whatever the reason for your child’s fear, or reluctance to go to the dentist, it is important not to bulldoze it. These anxieties can seem very real for a child. Forcing the issue without first addressing it appropriately can leave a lasting bad feeling around dentistry that could stick with your kid for life.
A fear of the dentist may be irrational, but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. Instead, the first step should be to talk to your child about their concerns and to try to address them. A reassuring parent can have a strong influence on how a child thinks. Try to establish the root of the problem. Ask your child why they don’t like going to the dentist and try to get round these objections. Encouragement and support can go a long way in correcting a fear of the dentist.
A rewards-based praise system can also quickly turn fear into anticipation. Rewarding your child after a successful trip to the dentist makes the benefits for them feel more direct. Of course it is in their interests to have healthy teeth and gums. But for young children especially, all they feel is discomfort, pain and fear when they visit their family dentist. Dentists like Dr. Amy Hahn work with families to ensure dental health in young and old.
A gift, an outing or even a healthy treat can have the desired effect. By associating the visit to the dentist with some positive benefit for your child, the preliminary concerns become less significant.
Familiarity helps with children and young people. Especially for those who feel so naturally apprehensive about visiting the dentist, a familiar, consistent face can make the process slightly less difficult. If your children personally like the dentist, and recognizes him or her, that can be a major benefit in easing their regular checkup visits.
It is not uncommon for children to fear going to their dentist, and for parents this can prove a difficult challenge to overcome. But with the right strategies and approach to counteracting your kids’ fears, it can be possible to encourage your kids to visit the dentist more freely.