Help Children Overcome Fear of the Dentist

Being afraid of the dentist is very common with children. Even some adults do not like going to their biannual checkups. Even if your child is afraid of the dentist, it is important to help them to overcome their fears and anxiety.

Children need to be comfortable at the dentist so that they can get into a routine of dental checkups twice a year for the rest of their lives. There are a few ways that parents can help kids with their dental fears with the help of your pediatric dentist in Charlotte NC, Dr. Sheilda Gordon-Holt.

  1. Begin Before the First Birthday- You shouldn’t wait until your child is in school to take them to the dentist. Most health care professionals recommend starting dental visits as soon as the first baby tooth comes in, at the latest, by their first birthday.
  2. Don’t Go into Details- Children have wild imaginations and the more details you give, the more their imaginations can take off. Don’t give any cause for your child to have extra anxiety, especially on their first trip.
  3. Have a Positive Attitude- Make sure your attitude about the dentist is always positive and happy. Your child will feed off your energy and listen to not only your words but the way you say them. Excitement will radiate off of them, especially if you’re excited, too.
  4. Have A Pretend Visit- Play pretend at home or take your child to a children’s museum that has a mock dentist office. When you can go through the motions with your child before they get to the real thing, it can make dentist trips much easier.
  5. Don’t Bribe Them- If you tell your children that behaving well, not crying, or not being afraid will earn them a reward, they will wonder what is so scary in the first place. This will increase their anxiety and apprehension.
  6. Don’t Take Them to Your Appointment- Adult and child dental care are extremely different, so try to avoid bringing your children to your appointment. Watching someone poking and prodding with tools in mommy or daddy’s mouth can be very scary for a child, especially if they expect their appointment to go the same way.
  7. Talk About Oral Health Frequently- Children who understand the importance of having a clean healthy mouth will understand that the dentist, like the doctor, just wants to make sure they stay healthy and happy. Set the example with your own oral health and make your dental routine with your family fun.

Every child is different, so your child may respond to all or none of these methods. If you’re still concerned and have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your pediatric dentist in Charlotte NC by calling our office at (704) 542-2325.

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