I have always HATED going to the dentist.
Well, I take that back. If I’m just going in for a cleaning and I’m pretty sure that everything else is fine and nothing crazy is gonna crop up, then I’m okay. I even like how my teeth feel after a good cleaning. So smooth. I can’t quit rolling my tongue over them. Ya with me?8 Tips to Get Your Anxious Kid Into The Dentist Chair! #kids #dentist #tips Click To Tweet
But any other time? I HATE IT. So naturally, I’m a little concerned that our girls (who are only 20 months old and haven’t been to the dentist yet) will have a bit of my aversion in them, as well. I mean, let’s face it: going to the dentist is something that many people dread. After all, who can say they really enjoy having their teeth probed and poked before being given a bill for the pleasure?
On that note, I really am hoping that the earlier I remove any fear of the dentist the easier it will be for my kiddos to visit one and take care of their teeth for life.
You might be surprised to know that 65% of Australians haven’t visited the dentist in 2 years! Cost is a major factor in the decision not to go; fear is the other one. It is, therefore, important to help your anxious kid as soon as possible.
The first step is to choose reputable dentists like Rickard Dental, or ask for recommendations for a reputable dentist in your area. This will ensure you are getting the very best treatment in a friendly and comfortable environment.
You can then follow these steps to get your child there; without the anxiety:
The earlier you start taking your child to the dentist the less anxious they will be. This is because it is a normal event. Ideally it should happen twice a year. When it is perceived as normal your child will not become anxious over it. Our pediatrician recommends our start their visits around age 2, so we’re getting close!
To help your child become used to the idea of visiting the dentist it is a great idea to play dentist with them. Go through the whole activity, including looking in their mouth. All you have to do is make it fun and let them do the same to you! They might even look forward to the dentist! (I actually started doing this with the girls last week. So far they’re scared to let me look in their mouths. Probably because one of the most common things I say to them is, “Don’t put that in your mouth!” They probably think I’m looking for something they’re hiding in there!)
Talk To Them
If your child doesn’t go regularly then they will be uncertain as to what to expect at the dentist. This is when it is important to talk to them. You should explain what happens at the dentist and why it is important to go. This can help them to understand the importance of looking after their teeth as well.
Everything you say regarding the dentist must be positive. This means reminding your child how a dentist can benefit them. This will help to reassure your child that the dentist is a good thing.
Your child may have hundreds of questions or simply start to get anxious as the appointment time gets closer. You need to stay calm and deal with all their issues one at a time. Getting exasperated, no matter how tempting, will simply increase their anxiety. Once they have been a few times the anxiety will decrease as they realize that the experience is not so bad! If your child has extreme anxiety then it can be a good idea to visit the dentist several times without having any inspection done. By familiarizing themselves with the place and the techniques it will seem less scary. You can then progress to the dentist just looking into their mouth; before the full dental exam is carried out. The most important element is to always make sure your child feels that they have control over the appointment. This will definitely help them to stay calm.
Do you have kiddos who go to the dentist regularly? What age did you start taking them? What helped them feel comfortable?
Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!