6 ways to help your kids overcome their fear of the dentist

6 ways to help your kids overcome their fear of the dentist
Photo: jarmoluk, Pixabay

Imagine entering a dental clinic for your scheduled appointment. You hear the dental drill and smell the distinct dental clinic scent. What would you feel?

No one can deny the fact that scheduling an appointment with a dentist can make kids and even adults break out in a cold sweat. But if your kid really needs to have their teeth checked or if your child needs orthodontic treatment such as braces, you have to try and ease their anxiety. Let them know what’s going to happen even before you head to the dental clinic.

Bad experiences in the past may have caused your children to fear of the dentist. Either the treatment was too painful or complications arose from it. However, it is really important that your child visits the dentist frequently, so as to minimise the risk of cavities and gum disease. If your child hasn’t been to the dentist before but he or she is feeling anxious about the trip to the clinic, here are some ways you can ease their fear.

Trust the dentist

Trust may help in overcoming fear, and if you show your kid that you trust the dentist, it will be a lot easier for them to feel at ease. Choosing the right dentist, who has the ability to soothe anxious children is paramount.

Show your kids how you talk to the dentist and explain to your kids what the dentist meant, so they know what the treatment will be like. If you don’t know a dentist yet, you can ask recommendations from your family and friends.

Let your kid talk about their fears

Let your kid talk about what they expect the treatment to be like and let the dentist discuss what he or she will be doing. This way, the child knows what to expect. Dentists should be able to discuss the treatment process, how much pain is involved and the recovery time.

The dentist should be able to adjust to the needs of the child and cater to their requests, so they will feel comfortable during the treatment.

Take someone with you during appointments

As a parent, our kids expect us to be there for them so they will feel less afraid. But, if you think you might need someone else to be with you during appointments, don’t hesitate to bring your spouse or a friend who can help you comfort your kid after the treatment.

Bringing a companion who will help you care for your kid will ensure that you will not forget the necessary details about the treatment or recovery advice the dentist has provided.

Use distractions

Allow your kid to use distractions such as watching funny videos or even bringing their favourite toy. Doing this will ensure that they will have other things to do while the treatment is ongoing. Having things to hold or look at will distract them and will make them feel less afraid.

Usually, dental clinics have televisions intended to entertain the patient while the procedure is ongoing, but bringing other toys won’t hurt too.

If sedation is needed, just ask

If you think your child might need to be sedated for the treatment, don’t hesitate to ask. Dentists will be able to tell you if sedation is needed, however, there will be some children who may become feint or nauseous from pain. In this case, sedation can be used for minor treatments if needed.

Reward your kid

A simple treat to reward your kid’s bravery will help them associate dental trips with gifts and treats. The next time they are due for a visit to their dentist, they will think about what they will get from you, which will most likely ease their anxiety and fear of the dentist.

Helping your kids overcome their fear of the dentist will ensure that they will have a healthy mouth and healthy teeth for the rest of their lives. Dental treatments don’t need to be scary, and if your child gets used to having their teeth checked regularly, chances are, you will spend less money on dental treatments as they grow.

What do you think about it?