How to Help Children Who Are Afraid of the Dentist
If you are a parent, you want to make sure your child is healthy. Oral health is an important part of their overall health, but a dental appointment can be a real challenge if your children become anxious at the mere mention of the dentist. This anxiety can be caused by a variety of things; whether they witnessed you recover from a painful root canal or they equate dentists with doctors and receiving vaccination shots. North Pointe Dental Associates is home to some of the best dentists in Tampa who know how to relieve anxiety for children and adults alike.
The staff at North Pointe Dental Associates are accustomed to getting emails and calls from parents asking for tips on how to help their children overcome their fear of the dentist. So their best dentists have provided a list of their favorite tips and tricks you can use before your child’s next dental appointment.
Choose a dentist who has experience treating children.
This tip is fairly simple, but important to remember. If your dentist has plenty of experience working with children, they will have a better idea of how to comfort your child, whether with prizes, treats, or stuffed animals during the exam.
Set a good example for your children.
One of the best ways to ensure your child is not afraid of the dentist is by bringing them with you to your next appointment with your North Tampa dentist, whether it’s for teeth whitening or your regular checkup. Be mindful of the signals you may be giving off in advance of your dentist appointment. If you’re anxious, your child will feed off that. Smile during the exam to let your child know that the procedure is safe and describe to your child what the dentist is doing. After the appointment, tell them how great your teeth feel.
Another great way to be a good role model is to brush and floss your teeth on a daily basis in front of your child and help them form their own dental hygiene routine.
Talk to your children about the dentist.
Children, much like adults, are afraid of the unknown, so it is only natural they may have plenty of questions about a trip to the dentist. Talk to your children about the visits, but limit the number of details given. For example, do not tell them about uncomfortable procedures and avoid using words such as hurt, painful, or shot. Give them simple, straightforward answers and let the dentist answer more complicated questions, as they are much better equipped to do it.
The best Tampa dentists will have plenty of tricks up their sleeves to deal with a restless or anxious child. They might tell a funny story or a joke to distract the child from the procedure or treatment. For example, they may use smiles and frowns to encourage good or discourage bad behavior.
Stay close during your child’s exam when possible.
New and unknown experiences can be scary for children, so having a parent nearby can help soothe them. Some dentists will also allow the child to sit in a parent’s lap during the exam. Just by holding their hand or talking to them in a calm voice, you can help your children feel less anxious and distract them from the procedure.
Schedule your appointment today.
Whether you are coming for your first visit, or you want to schedule a regular checkup for your child, call (813) 961-1727 and NPDA’s friendly staff will help you with all your oral health and aesthetic needs.