One of our central goals is to help children have a more positive view of going to the dentist. We feel that preventing and alleviating the fear associated with dental visits is important in encouraging future overall oral health. Adults who are not afraid to go to the dentist are more likely to keep up with regular visits and be proactive in the care of their teeth. We also believe that parents can play a vital role by working with us as a team. Here are four steps you can take in helping your child not be afraid of the dentist.
1. Introduce your child to the dentist outside of any procedure.
The first visit to your pediatric dentist should be relaxed and non-formal. Starting early usually ensures that this visit can be more of a “meet and greet” and won’t involve any major procedures.
2. Avoid using negative words when talking about the dental visit.
As we mentioned in our previous post on finding a dental home, it’s important to stay away from words that connote fear. Avoid saying things like drill, pain, hurt and shot.
3. Understand your own fear.
Recent studies have shown that a parent’s own fears of the dentist are transferred to your child. Evaluate how much of your fears are substantiated. Consider which conversations about your own dental care are appropriate for your child to hear.
4. Prepare for the dentist.
Make going to the dentist a truly fun event. You can build excitement for the experience and plan a fun day that centers around the visit.
Above all else, it’s important to stay positive. Your child will sense your mood and will respond to it.