Helping Your Children Conquer Their Dentist Phobia
A common childhood phobia is going to the dentist. This can make visits stressful and upsetting, and lead to further problems later on in life. Children who grow up without getting over this phobia often avoid going to the dentist as adults. They fail to go for check-ups and leave issues and pain until they can’t bear it any longer. This can lead to expensive and painful treatments which could have been easily prevented if spotted earlier.
Regular dental check-ups are incredibly important. During these checks, the dentist can offer advice on oral hygiene, spot and treat problems and even pick up on other health issues which are causing dental symptoms. So, it’s imperative that you help your children to conquer any fear they may have while they are young.
Find the Right Dentist
Finding the right dentist can make all of the difference. A professional and approachable family dentist like Dr. David Gryzick who is experienced with treating children will be able to make the experience much easier for all concerned. Speak to the dentist on your own before your child’s appointment, maybe at your own appointment, if your child is especially nervous.
Get Over Your Fear
Children pick up on your feelings very easily. If you are frightened and anxious, they will know. If you can’t get over your phobia, just leave your children at home when you go for your appointments, don’t let them see your fear and try to be positive when speaking to them about the dentist.
Very young children have little fear of anything. Take your children to their first appointment when they are still a baby, as soon as they get teeth.
A mistake many parents make is taking their babies to the dentist a few times and then stopping because everything is fine. Their children aren’t scared, their teeth are perfect and with school and other things to think about, they stop making appointments for regular checks, and suddenly their 8-year-old hasn’t been for five years and is terrified.
It’s important to remember that for a child, a year is a long time. They won’t remember their last visit, or how easy everything was. Take them every six months even if things seem fine to keep reminding them of how simple going to the dentist is.
If it’s already been awhile since your last visit, or you’ve never taken your children, it’s a good idea to help them with some pretend play. Set up a dentist surgery at home and spend time with your children examining each other’s teeth. Then, get their teddies and dolls in for appointments. Have some fun with it. You could also get some books from the library or find some fun dentist based episodes of their favorite TV shows.
It’s only normal to expect some fussiness. Be as patient as you can with your children and try to answer any of their questions.
Another mistake parents making is using the dentist as a threat. Saying things like “don’t eat too many sweets or the dentist will shout” is only going to increase their fears.