How to Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist
Many kids fear the dentist. It’s something about the needles and other sharp instruments lying about. Add all this in together with a healthy dose of fear about the unknown, and you’ve got a child who bursts into tears at the mention of getting their teeth cleaned. There are several things you can do to ease your child’s fears.
Go to a Pediatric Dentist
Most dentists like Dr. Peter Wong specialize in adults, but there are also pediatric dentists. Their waiting rooms are kid-friendly. They have magazines for kids, but they also can feature TV shows the child can watch while having their teeth cleaned or even game systems they can play. The staff know how to ease a child’s fears and the equipment is usually kept hidden or made more appealing with googly-eyes. Let an expert handle it and show them it’s not scary at all.
Be a Teacher
Much of a child’s fear can stem from the unknown. Kids don’t know what will hurt at a dentist’s and what won’t. They don’t know what they’ll be asked to do. Preparing for a dentist’s visit can take away their fear. There are many books that talk about “Tommy’s First Trip to the Dentist.” Reading these or watching an episode of their favorite show where a child goes to the dentist will make them feel they know what is going to happen.
Make it a Fun Day
Sometimes the rewards after a dentist’s visit can make up for the fact that the dentist’s office is not very fun. If the child loves ice cream, tell them that after the appointment, they’re going to have some! It will be even better when they tolerate the appointment and find out it wasn’t as bad as they thought.
Bring a Friend
If possible, coordinate with a fellow parent and have the child’s friend come at the same time. Most dentists offices let you schedule online, making it easy. When the child sees their peer undergo treatment will make the child feel better. Once they see it’s no big deal for their friend to do, it will become easier for them as well.
Easing a child’s fear of the dentist is not easy, but taking a couple steps can help them come a long way. Even if they never like the dentist, they don’t have to be afraid.