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Oral hygiene is of the utmost importance no matter how old we are. However, there are many children who still refuse to go to the dentist because they are afraid. Fear that develops at early stages of life still manages to prevail through adulthood and many adults have problems with their teeth. That’s why it is essential to teach your kid that dentists are not something to be afraid of, but people who could be their good friends. Here’s a few ways in which you can help your kids overcome the fear of dentists.
The sooner you take your child to the dentist the better. While they are young, children cannot really grasp all the “scary things” that dentists do. Start with simple routine checkups two times a year and through time, if an emergency occurs, your child will be familiar with the environment and there will be no fear. If your child has a bad toothache and that’s the first time they see a dentist, the pain in the tooth they feel might connect these specialists with something painful and scary.
Answer all their questions
Before going to the dentist, your kid will probably have plenty of questions. Honesty is your best policy and you should answer all their questions in order to help them realise that dentists are not something scary. Sit your kid down and have an open and honest conversation. Tell them the job of a dentist, how they help people and children and remember to have a positive attitude about the visit. However, when having the talk, you can leave out some major details that might scare your children; rather try building their trust towards dentists and their work.
Be careful what you’re saying
Harsh and scary words shouldn’t at all be used in front of children, but when it comes to dentists there are a few that might stir up that fear in them. When talking about the dentist or visiting one, avoid using words such as hurt, pain and shot. Let the specialist introduce those words to them in their own vocabulary that is kid-friendly. Be gentle when explaining why you are going to the dentist’s and what’s going to happen. Tell them that the dentist is just looking for “sugar bugs” and wants to clean them off in order for their teeth to be healthy and strong. Also, you can tell them you’re going to check their smile and count the teeth. That will make the whole trip fun and your kid won’t be scared of the dentist at all.
What about braces?
As soon as your kid’s permanent teeth start popping out, go for regular checkups in order to make sure they are healthy. Also, the dentist will tell you if your child needs braces. However, when talking about braces with your child, be honest but modest. Don’t tell them they are going to have a few metal parts that will shift their teeth. That will scare them. Rather, tell them that braces are something good that can help them have a perfect smile when they grow up. You can even tell them they are going to get invisible braces, because today those exist and can help your child avoid any trauma.
Positive experience will significantly lower the fear of dentists. That’s why you can even opt for some role play at home before a dental visit. Explain to your kid that you are a doctor now, put them in a chair and stage the whole checkup. You can even introduce your kid to some apps on your phone that will allow them to be the dentist. That will allow your child to see that dentists are gentle and patient, just like you are and there will be no fear.
As you can see, it is easy to nip this fear in the bud if you start early. Talk to your children and find them a good pediatric dentist that will help them realize that oral hygiene is important and not scary at all.