Has your child dental anxiety? Is your child afraid of the dentist? Please follow these tips to help your child relax before the dental checkup.
- Start at an early age
The earlier a child visits the dentist, the better. The child will know that there is a "dental home" for their needs, whether it is just a check-up or something urgent. By the eruption of the first tooth, it is useful for the parents to visit the dentist to be informed about the proper daily dental care of the child.
- Hold a neutral attitude
When preparing your child for their first visit, avoid too many descriptions and details. More details raise more questions and descriptions such as e.g. how a filling is made and can cause stress to the child. Keep a positive attitude but do not promise the child that everything will be perfect because if he/she happens to need an emergency treatment, he/she will not trust the dentist and the parent any more.
- Pay attention to the phrases/words you use
Do not use phrases such as "do not be afraid, it will not hurt" or words such as pain, injection, etc. because they create negative emotions. Let the dentist describe the various dental procedures in words that are appropriate for the child's age and maturity. All the parent needs to say is that ¨we will go to the dentist to count your teeth¨
- Play the dentist at home
Give the child a mirror, count his teeth and brush them, explaining that the dentist will do the same. Then tell the child to mimic the dentist himself with the patient as a doll or a toy animal. Special children's books can also be helpful prepare the children.
- Do not tell children your own negative stories about the dentist and do not take the children with you to the adult dentist.
Children feel the feelings of the parents and a parent who is afraid tends to communicate his fear and anxiety to his child. Adult dental clinics can give your child a negative impression as they are not so child friendly.
- Get prepared for crying sometimes
It is normal for very young children to cry, whine and not want to be examined by a stranger. Stay calm, encourage your child and follow the pediatric dentist's instructions. You may be asked to keep your distance from the child or to sit with him / her and hold his / her hands, protecting him / her from dangerous movements.
- Do not give your child a gift after the dentist
Giving your child a gift if he or she treats the dentist properly encourages him or her to think that something negative will happen in the dental practice that may make him or her cry. Also giving a sweet food is against what the dentist advises. Instead, reward the child for his or her good behavior and bravery at the end of the session.
- Emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene
Teach your child that a visit to the dentist is a need and not a choice and that the dentist will take care of his teeth so that he is strong and able to eat and grow properly.