When a child first learns that he is going to be going to the dentist, his first thought is typically formed around the vision of some cartoon mad scientist or evil doctor. This perception is due primarily to the number of children’s television shows that portray doctors or dentists in a scary yet comical fashion. Let’s face it—older siblings with a sense of humor don’t help, either. Fortunately when it comes to kids’ dentistry, there are a few tricks of the trade that can help your child look forward to visiting the dentist.
Easing a Child’s Fears of the Dentist Starts with the Parent
Avoid using a few key words before going to the dentist. Words such as “hurt,” “shot,” “painful,” or “scary” shouldn’t be used. Instead, use a few details to tell your child about why going to the dentist is important. If your child has a favorite superhero or fictional character that has a sparkling smile, then be sure to use that character as a prime example of why going to the dentist can be fun and healthy. Try saying something like, “I bet Superman goes to the dentist every six months to keep his smile healthy.”
One of the most important things that a parent can do to ease a child’s fear of the dentist is to understand the child’s fear. Sometimes, kids are afraid because they have heard horror stories from their older siblings or seen something scary on television. Other times, kids are simply afraid of the unknown. No matter the reason, try to understand your child’s fear so that you can help show him or her why the dentist’s office isn’t a scary place to be.
General Dentist Tips for Easing a Child’s Fear
The final person who can ease a child’s fear of the dentist’s office is a kids dentist with caring hands. Below are the top three tips for helping to eliminate a child’s fear.
- Speak in a calming and friendly voice. If children hear a friendly or happy tone, then they are less likely to be afraid.
- Tell stories or anecdotes to distract the child. Stories are a fantastic distraction that can help to take a child’s mind off of the scary dentist tools and instead help the child to think about something more pleasant.
- Use simple words to describe a procedure or action. Remember that kids are often afraid of the unknown. This includes big, scary words that are hard to understand. Keep things simple, and the child is sure to be a little less afraid.
When it comes to kids and the dentist’s office, remember that a healthy smile is well worth helping your child to overcome any fears. For more helpful dentist tips, visit us online.