According to studies, over 15% of people in Canada are afraid of the dentist. As a result, it will come as no surprise that your child may be nervous about their appointment, especially if it is their first time visiting the dentist.
Dentist appointments are important in maintaining proper oral health however, so helping your child overcome their fear is necessary for protecting their teeth and gums.
Thankfully, working through the fear of the dentist isn’t impossible, especially with brave and curious children. Frequently, their fear simply stems from the unknown and can be corrected with guidance.
To help, we’ve created this guide to walk you through the time leading up to, during, and after your child’s appointment to help foster a healthy relationship with the dentist without fear.
The time before the dentist is when your child may be the most anxious, especially if they have never been before.
Children are known for their creative and active minds and while beneficial during play or learning, it can also lead to fear of the unknown. This is because your child will fill in the gaps when they don’t know what to expect. Doing so can make an everyday trip to the dentist seem like a big ordeal.
The best way to help your child with their fear and anxiety before a dentist appointment is to keep them informed. Reading children’s books about the dentist and watching T.V. shows on the subject can be a great way to introduce information in a digestible way.
It’s also important to answer any questions your child may ask. Not only does this help dispel any worries they have, it can also further establish you as a knowledgeable figure, which will be beneficial during their visit.
During your child’s visit, it’s easy for curiosity to take hold of their anxiety. Many children, especially those more social and conversative, will find comfort in talking to their dentist and dental hygienist, which will ease many of their worries.
To stay on the safe side though, you should always pack accordingly before heading to the dental office.
Take your child’s favourite toy or blanket to hold during their visit. For the waiting room, feel free to bring books to read or colouring books. (Note that this may not apply during COVID, where many waiting rooms are restricted.)
It’s also important to remember that during what can be a new, scary time, your child is trusting you to lead the way. This means that, as someone they love, it’s important that you stay calm and relaxed.
Engaging with your child during their appointment can also help them through the experience. While your child may not be able to talk back to you while having their teeth done, they may still find comfort in you occasionally narrating what is happening or reassuring them that they’re okay.
Your child did a great job getting through their dentist appointment – make sure to tell them. Children thrive off of praise and positive reinforcement, so it’s important to let them know how well they did.
This is also a good time to answer any other questions they may have, which will help them prepare for their next appointment.
Family-Friendly Dental Services in Delta, BC
The first step to helping your child feel comfortable for their appointment is to choose a dentist you can trust.
Kennedy Heights Dental is dedicated to providing family dental services that not only improve oral health but allow each of our patients, no matter how young or old, to feel comfortable. To learn more about our dental services contact us at (778) 438-2084 or book your appointment online today.