How to Ease Your Child’s Dental Fear

16 January, 2018 Dental Anxiety,

Fears about seeing a dentist are common among adults and children alike. While certain methods help to calm anxiety in adults, it sometimes takes different approaches to help children feel more comfortable about a dental visit. Here are some basic suggestions that will help your child learn to fear the dental chair less and maybe even begin to look forward to the visit.

Talk About the Upcoming Visit

When the time comes for the first dental visit, it is important to talk with your child in advance. The goal is to provide enough information without getting too deeply into the details. You want the child to have reasonable expectations without triggering all sorts of reasons to be afraid.

One approach is to talk about what happens during a typical dental exam. Emphasize that exams are something that adults do regularly and that since your child is growing up, it’s time to do the same. While you don’t want to raise false hopes about there being no pain or discomfort, you do want to keep to the basics.

Hold a Pretend Visit

One way to help your child feel more comfortable about the upcoming visit to the dentist office in Barrie is to hold a pretend visit at home. Children learn a great deal by playing games. For the game, you will be the dentist. An older sibling or the other parent can serve as the staff who greets people as they come into the office. You can go through a mock dental exam using the tools found in a child’s play dental kit.

Once you do one round of pretend being the dentist, switch roles and let the child be the dental professional. You’ll be surprised at how this game of pretend takes away some of the mystery and also some of the fear.

Talk About Your Opinion of the Dentist

If you are going to a clinic offering family dentistry in Barrie and you’ve seen the dentist before, talk about what you experienced in your visit. Mention that the dentist was a kind person who asked some questions and listened closely to the answers. Kids like it when adults take what they have to say seriously. If your dentist is the type who makes jokes or does other things to make patients feel at ease, talk to your child about how the dentist made the visit pleasant for you. That helps to set the expectation that the professional will do the same for your child.

Remind Your Child That You Will Be Nearby

It’s scary to meet a new adult for the first time. Knowing that you are close by while the appointment takes place makes it a little easier in the child’s mind. The fact that all it will take is saying that you are wanted in the exam for you to come in is often enough to calm any lingering fears.

Remember to talk about the visit once the two of you leave the clinic. Find out what your child thinks of the dentist and see if there are any questions. If some of them are a little technical, tell your child that you will talk with the dentist and get an answer. Once that first visit is complete and things go smoothly, you can rest assured your child will be more comfortable going back.