Working Together to Help Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist
As a family dentist with over 17 years of experience, we understand the challenges some parents may face when helping children tackle their dental exam anxiety.
If your child is reluctant or downright terrified of going to the dentist, here are some tips that can help you ease their anxiety.
Before the Appointment
Schedule your child’s checkup at a time when you won’t be rushed. This will help you remain calm, even if the visit takes longer than expected. We also recommend that you:
- Let your child know about the appointment in advance. While you might be tempted to postpone telling him or her, your child needs to be mentally prepared.
- Encourage your child to express their fears to you and explain that the dentist is a friendly doctor who helps keep their teeth healthy.
- Practise deep breathing exercises with your child (such as blowing through a bubble wand), and remind them to use these techniques whenever they feel nervous.
Additionally, you should inform your dentist about your child’s anxiety beforehand. This will ensure the staff is prepared to address your child’s specific needs as soon as you arrive.
During the Appointment
Let your child bring their favourite stuffed animal or toy to hold during the appointment. You should also encourage your child to play in the waiting room. This will provide a distraction and help them adjust to the new environment.
As a parent, the most helpful thing you can do is remain calm. Be patient and speak to your child in a soft voice. You can also rely on your family dentist to help ease your child’s anxiety by:
- Explaining the procedure in a gentle voice using simple terms and demonstrations
- Letting your child know what sounds and sensations to expect during the procedure
- Telling your child stories and asking them to visualize a recent fun experience
- Playing music or a movie to distract your child during the procedure
- Praising your child’s bravery and using prizes to encourage good behaviour
Why It’s Important to Address Dental Anxiety
Regular cleanings and dental exams are crucial to the health and proper development of your child’s teeth. If fear prevents your child from receiving this necessary care, they’ll be more likely to develop cavities, gum disease and other serious issues. This is why it’s vital for parents and dentists to work together to make each visit a positive experience.
Need a Child-Friendly Dentist? Call Forest Lawn Dental!
At Forest Lawn Dental Centre, we strive to create a child-friendly atmosphere for all of our young patients. You can count on our welcoming staff to make every effort to put your child at ease during their dentist appointment. For more information or to schedule a visit, contact us today.