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Child Scared of Going to the Dentist? Tips for Dealing with Dental Anxiety & Phobias in Children

Smile Reef

When it comes to your little ones, there isn’t anything you wouldn’t do to make them happy. But unfortunately, there are still some things that are in their best interest that you have to force on them. Not all kids enjoy school, yet you want them to be educated, so you make them go. When your child is in need of shots or to see the doctor, though they are fearful of needles, you encourage them through the experience to contribute to better health. The same example can be said of the dentist. Children are generally standoffish with strangers intruding in close proximity. Add a dentist who is intrusive in their mouth; most can understand the fear associated.

Smile Reef Share Some Tips to Help Your Child Work through Their Fear of Going to the Dentist

1. Don’t Delay Dental Visits. A common mistake a lot of parents do is waiting for their children to be old enough to understand they are going to a dentist. Starting children young is actually more beneficial. It is recommended children start at age one or when they get their first tooth. Starting them young reinforces the routine and more often than not, the fear of a dentist manifests.
2. Don’t Talk About Dental Procedures. If your child is of age to speak, many will have questions. Keep it short and sweet. Don’t relate details, especially about cavity procedures and such. Doing so only gets their imagination and curiosity spinning, which will buildup unnecessary anxiety. Keep it simple and sweet with all the little one’s questions.
3. Positive Dental Outlook. We have found it is best to avoid using words like “shot”, “pain”, and “hurt” kind of words. No one is eager to be involved in anything that contributes pain, especially children. Let your little inquisitors know the dentist is looking for tiny sugar beasts, or the dentist is merely going to count their teeth. It helps put their mind at ease.
4. Mock Dentist Role Play. Consider a play time where you are the dentist and the child is your patient. Have toy instruments common for a dentist and go through the basic motions. Make sure it is a fun and exciting time filled with laughter. After 2 or 3 times, switch roles and let them be the dentist and you the patient.
5. Special Needs Dentist. Young children or those with special needs may fuss, protest, and cry. Be prepared for it, and be patient. You don’t have to be embarrassed your child is having a meltdown. Most dentists and office staff has been there and done that. Be patient with your child, calm reassurance is what they need. Often when parents lose patience and they display frustration and anger, the anxiety and fear in their children will, only build. Be relaxed and take your time getting them comfortable.
6. Avoid Bribing at the Dentist. Before the visit even happens, you may be tempted to offer them a reward if they behave at the dentist. This immediately makes a child suspicious of what is going to happen at a place they may cry or be unhappy at. Instead, make the dentist a special treat where the dentist is excited to meet them and see their big smiles or something along those lines.

Pediatric Dentistry in Las Vegas, Nevada

It is always important to instill the importance of oral hygiene in your kids. Remind them going to the dentist regularly helps keep their teeth healthy. For your child’s next appointment, contact Smile Reef today. We cater to kids, including those with special needs. We are patient and help your child get comfortable and relaxed.

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