Dentophobia: How to Help Kids Conquer Their Fear of Dentists
Kids fear many things, including a visit to the dentist. A mere mention of a dental checkup freaks them out, making them anxious and nervous. As parents, you are responsible for easing the minds of your children. A proactive approach is necessary. Take note of the things mentioned below to eliminate dentophobia.
The Importance of Dental Health
Proper dental health through oral care is a must-have for children. It impacts their overall health. Poor dental conditions can result in other problems, such as those related to breathing, feeding, and speaking. It can also cause low self-confidence, discomfort, pain, and embarrassment. Not to mention, it is also linked to poor school performance and attendance.
Tips and Tricks to Overcome Dentophobia
Unfortunately, a lot of kids are immediately frightful once they learn that they will be seeing a dentist. Ideally, the first dental visit should happen on the eruption of the first tooth, according to the American Dental Association. When they grow up, kids will get used to the feeling of seeing a dentist, so there can be a lesser chance that they will be scared.
But if you missed that chance, there’s no need to worry. Help them overcome their phobia by doing the following.
1. Choose the Right Provider
Children have strong perceptions regarding dentists. So, finding the right dental professional is a must. Looking at the credentials is crucial, making sure that you will bring your child only to a qualified professional to care for your child’s dental health.
Aside from experience and expertise, the dentist must also be able to establish a good and friendly relationship to deliver effective treatments while combating fear. Find one who is great with children, such as a pediatric dentist or a family dentist.
2. Role Play
Role-playing is one of the most effective ways to teach children. You can also take advantage of such in eliminating their dental anxiety and phobia. Act as the dentist and your child will be the patient. Mimic the procedures that happen during a dental visit. Take this as an opportunity to explain what happens during a checkup or treatment. Talk about how important these treatments are for oral care and dental emergencies. In turn, it can make them more comfortable during the actual visit.
3. Talk to Your Child
Take the time to talk to your kids about the importance of oral care. This way, they will know why visiting the dentist is essential and they should never fear such. Be careful with your choice of words, making sure that they are assuring instead of frightening. Avoid using words like painful and other terms that can scare kids. Be open and prepare to answer questions that they might have. The more they know about the importance of dental health, the more you can encourage them to see a dentist.
4. Accompany Your Child to the Dentist
Provide moral support by accompanying your child to the dentist. Take the time out of your busy schedule to be with your kids during the checkup or treatment. When you are there, stay calm. Kids can pick up your anxiety. So, if you are nervous, it is likely that your kids will be nervous as well.
5. Play Music
Music and mood are related. It is effective in the reduction of anxiety and stress, including dental phobia. It helps in regulating their emotions and making them calm. Before or even during a dental visit, play your child’s favorite music. This can be effective in relaxing the body and calming the mind.
6. Reward Your Kid
Reward kids for their bravery. If they are afraid of seeing a dentist, replace their fear with anticipation. Give them something to look forward to. For instance, you can offer a visit to the museum or a nice meal once they are done. They will think of what comes after, which can help make them feel at ease once they are at the dentist.
7. Consider Sedation
In some instances, sedation will help in calming children, which can help eliminate dental phobia. Knowing that they won’t feel the pain can be encouraging. It uses different types of medication to calm the patient without being asleep. It is especially common during arduous and painful treatments. More so, it is often done on patients with special needs or those with high fear of dental care.
The Bottom Line
Dentophobia is common in children. As parents, you must be proactive in eliminating such fear. To help promote proper dental health, oral care is critical. As such, a regular dental visit should not be something that they are anxious about. From finding the right professional to offering rewards, consider the things mentioned above to calm the minds of kids when seeing a dentist.