Many children around the world grow up fearing the dentist. This obviously becomes a problem because they have to see a dentist at least twice a year to correct tooth problems and prevent diseases. As a parent, how do you raise a child who is not afraid of the dentist? Here are a few reminders.
Go to a Friendly Dentist
All dentists can identify dental issues and perform the necessary procedures to treat them but, for your child, you need to be a little more careful with the selection.
Look for a Townsville dental clinic that is kid-friendly and has extensive experience handling young patients. You can ask fellow moms for recommendations or look online for reviews. Before bringing your child to the clinic, you should visit on your own and ask if they have strategies that will make the experience enjoyable.
If your child is very young, you can expect squirming and struggling. After all, a person they do not know is performing procedures that they are not familiar with. An experienced dentist will know how to handle and urge the child to be more cooperative.
Make the Visit an Event
If this is your child’s first visit, then they still do not have a negative experience with a dentist. You can make the most of this by making the visit as much fun as going to an amusement park or to a friend’s birthday party.
Talk to your child; give them an idea of what to expect in a way that they will understand. However, be careful not to use negative language. Not once should you mention that the procedure “will not hurt.” This will only cause them to panic — the exact opposite of what you want to achieve. Instead, say that the dentist will only look at their teeth to make sure that they are strong and healthy.
Read and Role-Play
It might also help to buy your child a book about going to the dentist. Just Going to the Dentist, a book from Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter series, sees The Little Critter go to the dentist. Reading this book or other similar books to your child will make them feel less worried about going to the dentist and maybe even make them excited to have the experience.
You should encourage your child to play make-believe. Let them try to be the dentist to a doll or stuffed toy. This will make then visit familiar and, therefore, feel more comfortable at the clinic.
Remember that your child mirrors your actions and reactions. Even if you feel anxious, try your hardest not to show it. Be calm throughout the entire visit and, most of all, be supportive of your child. If your child is being uncooperative, do not be angry. That may just exacerbate the problem. Follow the instructions that your dentists give you to allow them to perform the procedure.
Give Them a Treat
Going to the dentist for the first time is a milestone for your child. Like other milestones, celebrate it by going to the playground or the mall to buy them a toy. Your child will associate the visit with fun memories.
Your work does not end after the visit to the dentist. Talk to your child about the importance of oral hygiene as early and as often as possible. Encourage a healthy habit at home that includes brushing their teeth after every meal and flossing.