Have you been procrastinating your child’s much needed dental checkup only because of his/her fear of one? Can’t do that forever, can you?
Here are 5 easy tips that would help your child overcome Odontophobia - that dreaded fear of the dentists, of course!
Be a good role model
If you’re scared of dental appointments yourself, there is a high chance that you will pass on this fear to your child unknowingly. This bad start will make it difficult for you to deal with the situation later on. On the other hand, if you start on a clean slate, you can positively influence your child easily. Since children wouldn’t know what to expect, paint a rosy picture of the whole process before you take them to the clinic.
Get story books about dentists, with animated pictures. Narrate these stories with actions and jokes making the child relate better to the procedure. Not only will this make the child more comfortable, he/she will also be curious to experience a dental visit on their own. Also, take this opportunity to explain the importance of dental hygiene in simple words.
Much before that dreaded dental appointment, start pretend games that involve a dentist. Do a role play with the child as the patient and you the dentist and vice versa. For this, create a simple dental room set up at home and pretend like you’re checking your child’s teeth with a mirror and a torch. In no time, they will be playing this game endlessly with their dolls, making your work much easier!
Even though it’s critical that you brief the kids on the importance of oral hygiene, they rarely understand its implications. Till they are old enough to comprehend these properly, it would be good if you can include positive rewards for every dental visit. After the dental visit, you can either buy them a small gift or take them out for something they enjoy. However, keep in mind that this rewarding should be stopped when the child is a little older.
Refrain from using scary words
Never use words like pain, blood, injection, etc. while explaining a dental visit to your child. They automatically process these words and associate it with something negative. Try to explain everything in simple words and emphasize on the positive outcomes from the visit. It is only normal for a young child to be scared of a dental visit, especially of the sharp tools and the restricting dental chair. You can consider taking their favorite toys along to distract the child while at the clinic.
While taking your child for his/her first dental visit, ensure that you personally know the doctor to be child friendly and accommodating. You can also take a look at these best dentists in the city before you make your decision! Sometimes a friendly dentist is all you need to get that fear out of your system!