Strategies for Keeping Your Child Calm Before a Dental Appointment

Posted on: 3 November 2021

Does your child have a fear of the dentist? If they do, they're not alone. Many children and adults struggle with anxiety before they go to the dentist. Despite this, maintaining regular appointments is crucial if they want to enjoy long-lasting oral health. By employing certain strategies, you can reduce your child's anxiety and make it easier for them to see their dentist.

Start Dental Visits ASAP

When your little one's teeth start growing, you need to begin planning dental visits. Dentistry is a field that covers people of all ages. Ideally, your dentist will see your child no later than their first birthday. When you introduce your kids to a dentist at an early age, dental visits become a routine part of their healthcare. You can also try bringing them to your dental appointments too. If they see that you're not scared, they're less likely to experience anxiety.

Choose Your Dentist Wisely

If you're choosing a new dentist for your child, try finding one who specialises in treating kids. Or, you can look for one who has experience in handling anxious patients. As a result, they'll naturally employ techniques that help your child feel at ease with them. You should also look at what the practice provides, such as child-friendly waiting areas and age-appropriate patient information leaflets.

De-mystify Their Appointments

Kids are excellent at sensing when you're holding back information. Much like adults, their fear of the unknown can prove to be more anxiety-inducing than if someone is upfront and honest with them. If they're old enough to absorb information, de-mystify their dental appointments by letting them know what is likely to happen. You can always adjust your language so that the tools and procedures involved don't sound daunting.

Don't Use the Dentist as a Threat

When your child is refusing to brush their teeth it's easy to use a trip to the dentist as a threat. By doing so, you're instilling the idea that the dentist is something they need to feel afraid of. Instead, try giving them incentives to brush their teeth. For example, tell them they'll get a treat if they cooperate with brushing their teeth seven days in a row. By removing scary dentists from the equation, you make it easier for them to attend upcoming appointments without feeling scared.

Finally, always try to make dental visits as comfortable as possible. Leave the house in plenty of time so that they don't detect a sense of urgency that heightens their anxiety, and try taking comforting items such as toys and blankets.