Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Who's Afraid of the Dentist?

child at the dentist
It is no big surprise that many youngsters have quite a bit of trepidation upon learning of their first visit to the dentist. That is certainly understandable, especially considering how kids' imaginations can often get the best of them. The general "fear of the unknown" is another logical factor. Helping them overcome these fears and worries is the first step to successfully putting them on the path to excellent dental health. Here are a few strategies:

Introduce them early

Around the age of one, most young children have already cut a few teeth. Getting them into the dental office for their first checkup is a crucial step. When done early, they can begin building positive memories of those visits and their uneasiness should subside all on its own!

Keep it simple

Remember the KISS rule? That is a good one to follow here. Do not give your child too much advance warning about their upcoming appointment. Letting them in on it the same day is probably best. Be upbeat and convey a happy message to your child such as, "We are going to find out how many teeth you have and how strong they are!" Another more simple explanation could be that they are going in for a "Smile Check".

Play dentist

Show your small child that there truly is nothing to fear by playing dentist. Do a little role-playing to show your child that the dentist is no one to be afraid of. Grab a hand mirror and have them lean back in an easy chair-explain that the dentist has a very cool chair and an adjustable overhead mirror and he or she is an expert "Smile Checker".

Dangle the carrot

Mention that dentists enjoy seeing their younger patients so much because it gives them the chance to give them special goodies to keep their teeth healthy. Please check with your dentist's office first to confirm what is in their well-check packs and be vague when telling your child. The idea is to give them something to look forward to without inflating their expectations.

Plan ahead

Arrive early to give your youngster time to adjust to the new place. By all means allow them to bring a favorite toy or comfort object. Expect them to be fussy. The best way to handle this in the waiting room is to continue being easy-going about and calm. When it's time for your child to climb up into the dentist's chair, you can breathe a sigh of relief! Dental professionals have an amazing skill set when it comes to quelling the fears of their tiniest patients!

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