Dentists do not bite. We care about the health of your bite, but we do not bite you ourselves. Yet there is no denying that some people are simply scared of the dentist. We do our best to be pain free, and we will always go out of our way to make sure your experience is pleasant, but the fear is still there.
It’s a fear that usually starts in childhood. Most children have no problems with the dentist. Some even like the dentist, because their teeth feel fun and clean afterwards (and they get a little treat as well). Yet, over time, their comfort becomes a fear that lasts well into adulthood.
What You Can Do
There are strategies that we can use as dentists to help your children feel happier and more relaxed. But as their parents, there are some things you can do that will make your child love the dentist so that they care for their teeth well into adulthood. These include:
- Go to the Dentist – Are you avoiding the dentist yourself? Are taking care of your dental hygiene? Often we find that children start to fear the dentist when their parents are avoiding their own dental visits. Make sure you are getting your teeth cleaned, and take your child with you so that they can see how important dental hygiene is.
- Role Playing – It helps to get your child used to what happens at the dentist. You can do that on your own by role playing with your child. Take turns being the dentist and being the patient. Avoid any fear language. If your child says “Okay, now we have to pull all your teeth!” Say “okay!” and don’t act afraid. When you take care of your child’s teeth, try not to scare them.
- Don’t Make it Pass/Fail – You want to teach your child great oral hygiene. But kids make mistakes, and they may have cavities. They may even need root canals (although we will do our best to prevent them). Make sure they do not feel that a cavity is a failure, so that they don’t become afraid that going to the dentist means they’ll be told they made a mistake.
You should also teach your child excellent oral hygiene so that they are less likely to have cavities and more likely to get positive feedback from the dentist, and you should make sure to take your child to the dentist often – any time they should have a checkup – that way they feel that the dentist is a normal part of their life.
Dentist Now Means Dentist Later
Children that learn to enjoy the dentist are more likely to go to their dental appointments later in life, and should be able to avoid dental anxiety. We’ll do our best here, but don’t forget that, as their parents, you are in the best position to teach your child to love dental care. Try the tips above, and make going to the dentist easier for your little one.