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How to Help Children Who Are Afraid of the Dentist

Getting adequate dental care can set a child up for a lifetime of healthy habits. Learning proper brushing and flossing techniques from a young age can prevent cavities and dental decay. Children are impressionable and need their caretakers to help them get past any fears they may have to ensure a healthy relationship with their dentist for years to come.

Choose an Experienced Pediatric Dentist

An experienced pediatric dentist could make all the difference in a child’s perception of dentistry for the rest of their life. Having the first visit or two go smoothly, with no pain or scary procedures, can go a long way in putting the child at ease. This can create an atmosphere of trust between the child and his, or her, provider. Establishing trust is important because there may be a point in which the child needs more invasive work done. If they trust the provider, they are more likely to cooperate, which will allow the procedure to go quickly with minimal pain.

Conversely, if the first few visits instill fear into the child, they may always fear the dentist. An experienced pediatric dentist knows this. They will be very careful to make those visits about getting to know the child and creating a comfortable environment. Pediatric dentists may spend time playing with the child and making jokes. It may be harder to get in to see a good dentist because they allow more time per patient than the average dentist to be able to get to know each child

Have the First Dental Appointment Early

The younger the child is when they first see a dentist, the better. Even if there aren’t many teeth in a child’s mouth, they will still benefit from getting in to see a dentist early. They will see it as a normal part of their life. The dentist can also monitor how the teeth are forming and correct any abnormalities before they can impact the child. Here at Rosedale Dental, we recommend starting a child’s dental care within six months of their first tooth erupting. The dentist will also help teach the child to brush and floss their teeth properly. Sometimes having that accountability helps instill the sense of responsibility your child has in his or her overall oral health.

Meet the Dentist

Meeting the dentist in advance could provide a child with a sense of security. Being able to see the office and meet the staff will allow them to become familiar with the setting. The dentist sitting down and explaining the procedures to the child, and allowing the child to ask questions, can help develop an understanding of why oral health is important. That way, when it is time to bring them in for cleanings and procedures they are already prepared.

Stay Close During Your Child’s Dental Visits

Parents and regular caretakers provide a sense of calm and security for a child. Staying close will allow you to be right by your child’s side if they need you. Children can sometimes become very anxious and stressed over dental visits, especially if they do not understand what’s happening. Staying nearby will allow you to comfort the child and allow the dentist to complete the exam and the procedure they are doing.

Schedule Appointments with One Hygienist

Scheduling appointments with one hygienist on an ongoing basis allows that hygienist to get to know the child. They can get to know what scares them and what calms them back down. They will learn how fast or slow they need to go to keep the child at ease. The child will also feel well cared for and look forward to a dental visit as a social visit to their friendly hygienist, instead of forced visits with strangers.

Provide Distractions, Set Aside Your Fear and Provide Information

Many adults fear dental exams. It is important that if you are one of those people, you do not pass that fear on to your child. Provide your child with information at an age-appropriate level. Answer their questions with enthusiasm. Help the dentist to distract them if they need you to. Talk to them, sing a song, or offer a reward for cooperating with the dentist. If you show your fear or use language that may scare the child, they may react with fear immediately and never give the dentist a chance.

Conclusion

Pediatric Dentistry is an important part of the overall dental industry. It supports children develop good oral health habits as they grow into adults so they can have healthy teeth for life. Here at Rosedale Dental Care, we take special care of our pediatric patients.

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