Fear of the dentist’s office, just like the fear of going to see the doctor, is a completely rational one. It’s commonly referred to as dental anxiety, and most adults have probably experienced something similar. Whether it’s the noise of the dental drill as you’re sat in the waiting area or the dentist’s hands wandering around your mouth, many of us find the dentist terrifying.
Well for a younger child, these fears and phobias can present themselves far more intensely. It can be an incredibly traumatic experience for then, and they are hesitant to do it without putting up a fight. Fortunately, there are a few things you could do to prevent your child from being overly anxious at the dentist.
1. Be brave for your child
One thing you can do that will make your child’s visits a lot easier is showing them that there isn’t anything to worry about. As we mentioned earlier, a lot of adults suffer from dental anxiety, but children are very impressionable. If your child sees that you’re frightened yourself, they’re bound to find the experience a lot more distressing.
2. Be calm and understanding with them
It’s very easy to lose your temper with the little ones. After a long, stressful day at work, you’re probably not ready for an all-out war at the dentist’s office, trying to get your little one in the chair. Just be understanding with them, comfort them, and assure them that there isn’t anything to worry about.
3. Arrange a meeting with their dentist
Getting to know your dentist before a visit can make all the difference for a child. It could also give the dentist a chance to learn a bit about your child and get to know how bad their anxiety is. Many dentists will be more than happy to arrange this if you explain the circumstances, as it lets the child get to know the dentist under more comfortable conditions, to begin with.
4. If all else fails, seek a specialist
If you think you’ve tried everything you possibly can, but your child is still making dentist appointments difficult, you should look at booking in with a specialist paediatric dentist. These dentists are training in providing the best dental care for small children. Their offices also tend to be designed so they can accommodate children and will make the visits more fun.
In any case, a child fear of the dentist may take a while to grow out of. Dentists will suggest a child are sees a dentist for a check-up by the age of 1 at the latest (see Dental Check by One). Not only is it incredibly important for their future oral health, but it also gets children used to the dentist at an early age, which will greatly reduce the potential for them growing up afraid of going to the dentist.
Unsure about your dental health? Call your nearest Synergy Dental Clinic and we’ll be happy to help.