4 tips to ease your child’s fear of the dentist
Taking the kids to see the dentist is essential in ensuring that their teeth are in good shape; however from a child’s point of view, this experience can be a scary event. Lying on a chair in an unfamiliar environment, with a stranger poking unusual metal objects in his/her mouth. To help ease your child’s future trips to come and see us, follow these 4 steps so that they will be comfortable and more relaxed.
1. Start at a young age
If you haven’t already, the best time to take your child to see us is around his first birthday or when his first tooth is visible. We then recommend that you come every 6 months to build up your child’s comfort and confidence level in visiting the dentist, to monitor the development of the teeth, and promptly treat any developing problems.
2. Avoid certain words
Try not to use words like ‘shot’, ‘pain’ or ‘hurt’ but instead replace them with positive words, for example ‘strong’ and ‘healthy’ to make the visit seem more fun and less scary.
3. Pretend play visiting the dentist
Role play the visit by counting your little one’s teeth with a toothbrush and avoid making drilling noises or including any other “instruments”. You can even let them brush their doll or stuffed toy’s teeth or read them a story about their favorite character visiting the dentist. The key is getting them familiar with the routine so that they are more comfortable for the real visit.
4. Avoid bribery
Don’t promise your child a special treat if she/he behaves well at the dentist. Doing this will only increase their uneasiness and may send the wrong message, as if there is something to be afraid of. Also avoid promising sugary treats, as the dentist as emphasised having clean, healthy teeth and avoiding sweets, so this will send mixed messages. Instead, praise your child for their general good behaviour and reward with simple things like a small toy or sticker for their bravery.
“… I value you highly as my dentist, you are always pleasant, friendly and professional. I am totally satisfied with all treatment I have had and would not hesitate to recommend you….” – Patient