Visiting the dentist can be frightening to children, especially if it is their first time.
Helping kids conquer their anxiety doesn’t just make it easier to talk them into attending their annual check-up – it will also ALSO help improve their dental health in the long run.
Of course, as with many things relating to your kids, the question is “how?” After all, children can be incredibly difficult when they want to be!
Luckily, there are many things you can do to help kids overcome their fear of the dentist – including choosing a dentist in Armadale who knows how to settle young nerves.
Our family dentist has a range of tools at our disposal to make your child’s trip to the dentist as painless and comfortable as possible.
Of course, there are also several things YOU can do, too, to make your kids comfortable with the idea of visiting the dentist!
4 crucial mistakes to avoid before you see your family dentist
Mistake 1: thinking that baby teeth aren’t important
Some parents may think those baby teeth will eventually fall out, so why bother taking care of them?
Little do these parents know that not taking care of these baby teeth early will affect the permanent teeth as well. Think of baby teeth as a set of living ‘braces’ that will hold space and make room for adult teeth.
Instill great habits from an early age and treat baby teeth with the same care as you would your permanent teeth.
Mistake 2: not visiting the dentist early
Good dental health starts early – if you ask us, it should begin the moment your child’s first baby teeth erupt.
Visiting the dentist earlier will help you examine your child’s teeth and see if there is a sign of decay and cavities.
Not to mention, our Armadale dentists can also provide you with an oral hygiene routine that looks after young gums and newly-erupted teeth.
Most importantly however, taking your child to the dentist early establishes a habit, and reinforces the importance of oral health from an early stage!
Mistake 3: not preparing kids ahead of time
Put yourself in your child’s shoes.
You have no concept of dentistry, or of what your dentist does.
You turn up to their clinic, only to be greeted with strange sounds and scary-looking tools poking around their mouths.
No wonder so many people feel antsy going to the dentist!
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix.
If your child knows what a dentist does and what to expect before they go in, they’ll feel less anxious when they need to go to the dentist for real.
Explain to them that the dentist is like a ‘teeth doctor’ who ensures that their teeth are strong and healthy. When you arrive, ask them to give your dentist a great big smile to show off their teeth!
Mistake 4: projecting your dental phobias onto children
Kids are a lot smarter than they look – they’re constantly taking things in from the adults surrounding them.
For example, by age 5 children can identify power dynamics based on body language and nonverbal cues.
Little wonder that they can also pick up on YOUR dental phobia.
Your children can pick up on your anxiety. If they notice you start getting worried everytime dentists are mentioned, they’ll take that on board, assuming that the dentist is a bad thing.
And that sets the stage for a lifetime of improper dental care.
It’s tough, we know. But as a parent, you need to swallow your fear and present a brave face – your child will thank you years down the line!
How to help kids overcome their fear of visiting the dentist
Fear is a normal reaction that children often feel during their first encounter with something new to them.
It’s the responsibility of parents to help their children overcome their fear, especially when it comes to visiting the dentist.
Doing so will not only help them feel at ease with visiting the family dentist, but it will also prepare them to practise good oral hygiene as they grow up.
Tip 1: start early
Starting early doesn’t just help us give you a better idea of how their teeth are coming along – it also allows us to teach you how to look after newly-erupted baby teeth.
Not only that, but it’ll also show your child that going to the dentist isn’t really a big deal!
Tip 2: acquaint kids with the dentist and the clinic
If you can make your child familiar with your family dentist and their clinic before your first appointment, do it!
A familiar face and place can help set young minds at ease, and reduces the possibility of them panicking when it’s time for their first appointment.
Tip 3: watch your words
Whatever you do, NEVER use words such as “pain”.
Such terms can bring an anxious feeling to children; that’s why it is important to watch your words as this can affect the way children view dentists.
Instead, keep your focus on positive words and phrases that frame dental visits as important, positive experiences that lead to a healthy smile!
Tip 4: stay with your child
If possible, that means coming with them into your dentists’ treatment room!
Not only does this allow you to provide that comforting presence, but you’ll also be able to keep up with your child’s dental health, and take on board any suggestions your family dentist provides.
Tip 5: choose a child-friendly dentist
One of the most important aspects of helping your child overcome the fear of the dentist is by choosing a family-friendly dentist.
Not only does a family dentist know how to handle the unique dental issues that children face, but they also know how to minimise childrens’ fears and assuage their anxiety.
At Dental Care Group, our dental health team treats your children with a welcoming, friendly and caring approach that puts even the most anxious child at ease.
Our Armadale dentist makes every effort for children to overcome their fear, including using a range of modern techniques and dental treatments to ensure that your child will feel comfortable and have a pleasant dental experience.
Are you looking for a family dentist in Armadale?
Visit Dental Care Group today!
Our dentist in Armadale makes every effort to provide caring and gentle dental care to the entire family, including your young ones.
Whether it’s baby’s first appointment, a regular check-up, or an emergency appointment, our friendly team at Dental Care Group provides child-specific dentistry, as well as giving your child a smooth and pain-free dental experience.