Children are often afraid of visiting the dentist, especially when it is their first appointment. Even after that time, anxiety can remain, so parents should take the necessary steps to quell their fears. Relaxation is important because if your kids are stressed, you may grow stressed too. All of that stress and anxiety may lead you to miss important information that the dentist conveys to you; therefore, you want to work on helping them to calm down before the appointment.
Explain the Process in Terms They Understand
How exactly you approach this subject of visiting will depend upon the age of your children. For example, if you have older children, you may want to share with them a time that you underwent a surgery at the dentist so that they know intense situations can arise. However, with younger kids, try to relate more to their fears and anxieties. Talk to them about the first time that you went to the dentist. Let them know that you were scared, but focus more on the ways in which you overcame that fear.
Sometimes, you may notice that your kids listen better to other people than to do. Ask their older cousins or their uncles, aunts and grandparents talk about visiting the dentist. Simply having an outside perspective can help them to better grasp what it is that you are trying to say. On top of asking people to share personal anecdotes, you can read them stories about going to the dentist. Finding stories and television shows about kids going to the dentist for the first time allows them to have characters to whom to relate. Find a variety of sources that talk about different dentists.
Discover the Problem that Exists
Usually, when people have fears about some sort of issue, they have a reason for feeling that way, and this situation applies to kids as well. Children are no exception to this rule. Do not just tell your children that they should embrace the dental appointment with welcoming arms. Ask them to explain to you why exactly it is that they are afraid of the dentist. Maybe a friend told them that going to the dentist is scary. Then, you can ask your kids why they have elected to believe this one child and explain that every person has a different perspective.
Perhaps you’ll discover that your kids have completely incorrect misconceptions about the dentist. Maybe they think that they are going to get a tooth drilled when they just have an appointment for a simple cleaning. Once you know the source of the fear, you can better address it.
Stay with Them
No matter how much you prepare your kids for the appointment, they may still have some fear upon arrival. It might seem like a good idea to have them go into the appointment alone so that they can face their fears by themselves, but consider a more subtle approach. Ultimately, the goal is for your children to learn how to communicate with the dentist by themselves, but for now, it is fine for you to act as a third-party.
Additionally, your children may be too young to understand what the dentist is saying and doing throughout the appointment. While you do not want to baby your children to an extreme degree, your presence in the examination room can provide a level of comfort that they need at this point.
You don’t want your kids to be terrified of the dentist because that fear may prevent them from going, and these steps can you to tackle this problem.
The information for this article is credited to emergency dentists in Salt Lake City at South Temple Dental.