Dental anxiety is very common among children. They may be afraid of all the sharp instruments the dentist uses and the pain they may feel. If your child suffers from dental anxiety, it can lead to crying, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and poor eating habits. As a parent, you can take steps to help your child become less afraid of the dentist.
Here are a few tips for easing your child's dental anxiety.
Select the Right Dentist
Ideally, you should choose a dentist who specializes in treating children. Pediatric dentists recognize that kids have special needs and will take extra time to ease their nerves. A pediatric dentist will speak to your child in a calm voice and reassure him or her that everything will be fine.
Avoid Using Negative Language
Although you want to be honest with your child, you should not use negative words, like "shot" or "pain." These words can be scary for a child and may make him or her worry more about seeing the dentist. Instead, tell your child that the dentist will help him or her achieve healthier and stronger teeth.
Play Dentist at Home
To get your child familiar with visiting the dentist, practice at home. Pretend to be the dentist and inspect your child's teeth with a small mirror. Then, pretend to be the patient while your child acts as the dentist.
Have Your Child Listen to Music
If your child has a fear of the dentist, music can be a great distraction. Make a playlist of your child's favorite songs and bring earbuds to the appointment. As your child closes his or her eyes and listens to the music, he or she will be more relaxed.
Do not Promise Rewards
At first, it may seem like a good idea to promise your child a toy if he or she behaves at the dental office. However, this could actually make your child more nervous. Your child may wonder what's so bad about visiting the dentist if there is a reward at the end. Instead, tell your child about how proud you are of him or her after the dental appointment.
Visiting the dentist does not have to be a terrifying experience for your child. If you follow these useful tips, you can relieve your child's anxiety and make each visit more pleasant. If you have additional questions, you should contact dentists for kids.