It’s quite common for children to fear coming to the dentist. As a parent, you can help overcome their anxiety and start them on a lifelong path to good oral health.
Here are five tips to help your child overcome a fear of the dentist.
1. Start early
The American Dental Association recommends your child see a dentist as soon as his or her first tooth erupts, or by their first birthday. These early visits are important not only to ensure your child’s mouth and teeth are developing appropriately but also to familiarize your child with our St. Pete dental office starting at a young age.
2. Find a family dentist
While dentists that primarily serve adults can provide excellent care for your child, he or she may benefit from seeing a family dentist with experience treating younger patients. Klement Family Dental treats both patients of all ages and is accustomed to caring for young patients and putting their minds’ at ease during cleanings and treatments. Klement Family Dental wants your child to have the best dental experience. Some children benefit from seeing a pediatric dentist. Your family dentist can help you determine what is in the best interest of your child.
3. Lead by example
Parents sometimes unknowingly add to their kids’ fear of dentists when they talk about their own fear of going to the dentist. Also, by using "scary" words, you can make your child dread the dental appointment before it even happens. Avoid words like "pain" or "hurt" to prevent your child from dreading the trip to the dentist.
4. Answer his or her questions
You should certainly avoid talking about negative topics associated with the dentist, but you should answer all your child’s questions prior to an appointment. Talk with your son or daughter before dental appointments. Make certain all their questions are answered so they know what to expect on the day of the appointment. By addressing fears beforehand, you’ll help you child be more relaxed and prepared for the visit.
5. Stay with your child
No matter how well prepared your child is, he or she may experience anxiety during a trip to the dentist. We encourage parents to stay with their children especially during the first appointment. Being nearby is reassuring for your child and will help them feel more comfortable while in the dental chair. As time passes and your child has more positive experiences at our dental office, you may be able to remain in the waiting room during visits.
Along with bringing your child for regular checkups and cleanings at a dentist in St. Petersburg, Fl, we also encourage you to help your child learn healthy oral hygiene at home. Here are some tips for instilling healthy dental habits. And if you have specific questions about your child’s oral health and development, give us a call.