Dental visits are necessary to keep teeth in tip-top condition, but a trip to the dentist can be scary for a kid. The unfamiliar environment can deplete him of all his hit points in a matter of seconds. About 9% of children are afraid of the dentist. Fortunately, there are ways to get your little darling past the fear factor and to the nice friend who just so happens to fix teeth.
The American Dental Association has designated February as National Children’s Dental Health Month. With a few positive reinforcements, your champ will feel non-threatened on his dental-venture. Here’s what you can do to help your favorite honor roll student feel more relaxed.
Discuss your child’s fears with the dentist. Be as precise as possible. Some children are afraid of needles while others are afraid of having their space invaded by strangers.
Choose wise words
Refrain from using words like ‘hurt,’ ‘pain,’ or ‘shot.’ Trained dental staff will most likely have their own kid-friendly vocabulary. Use words like ‘comfortable’ and ‘healthy.’
Easy does it
Keep a positive attitude and try not to provide too many details or answer questions you don’t have answers to.
Count your tyke’s teeth with a toothbrush and use a small flashlight to shine light so you can take a peek inside. Then gently pull the cheek away to take a better look. Let the patient watch you with a mirror.
Make it fun
Seat your child in a recliner and let them know when you are going to dip it backwards into the rocket ship position. Talk about the benefits of a healthy mouth. After they feel comfortable in a reclined position, tell them you’re going to move it back up.
Arrange to have your child meet the dentist and staff before the actual visit so he can see that there’s nothing to fear.
See a pedodontist
Pediatric dentists are skilled in the ways of the wee ones. They use smaller instruments and usually have kid-friendly offices with fun decorative themes, movies and games. They are also outfitted to work with kids who have special needs.
See a laser dentist
Don’t make promises
Refrain from bribery. Promising a treat or reward will only increase their apprehension.
Talk about how awesome your teeth look and feel after a dental cleaning. Make a point to brush and floss daily so your child can copy your oral hygiene habits.
At the end of every dental visit, complement your child for good behavior and bravery. Explain that dental visits are necessary and that the dentist helps keep teeth strong.