If your child whines and complains every time a dental check-up comes around, then you may have decided that you just have to tolerate this behavior. While making a child look forward to dental appointments is not always easy, it can be very rewarding when you change your child's mindset and no longer have to hear that he or she dislikes dental appointments. As you know, there is no real reason for your child to fear the dentist, as every dentist takes steps to keep their care pain-free and comfortable. Follow these tips for getting to the root of your child's dental disdain and changing his or her mindset for good.
1. Simply Ask Why He or She Dreads the Dentist
Many parents make assumptions about why a child fears the dentist and never really ask their child for the reason. You need to know the reason for the fear to help change your child's views. If your child answers with an "I don't know," then ask questions until you get a good answer. Ask them if they are scared of the dental equipment, if their friends have told them scary stories, or any other question that will get your child talking and opening up. The reason for the fear is important to find out, so you can address it properly and eliminate it.
2. Explain or Show Why the Reason for Fear is Unwarranted
While there are many reasons your child may give you for their dental fear, tailor one of these examples to your child's specific concern:
- Is your child afraid of the loud equipment? Dental equipment, like drills, can be scary for children just because of their sounds. To combat this fear, show your child images of dental drills and suction devices on the internet and explain when and why they are used. Stress the fact that they cause no pain when used and simply are used to fix "broken teeth."
- Did they hear a scary story from a friend? Ask your child what he or she heard from a friend, and agree that the story sounds scary if it does. Then, explain why the story is incorrect by stating the facts about what probably really happened instead of the horror story told to them. Remind them that dentists have no reason to hurt them and that their only job is to fix teeth.
Remember to be as detailed as possible in your explanations. Your child will trust your explanation more if you really sound like you know what you are talking about.
Remember that while dental fear is common in children, it is important to address it early on, as it will likely continue to escalate. While you may be tempted to just reward your child after every dental appointment, repairing the root cause of the fear can help your child more in the end. If you're looking for a family dentist in your area, visit Havendale Dental Office PA.