Schoolhouse Family Dentistry believes that your child’s first visit to the dentist should be a relaxing experience. In cases of high dental anxiety, your child’s overall dental hygiene may be affected for their entire lives. Our staff is experienced in dealing with dental anxiety of all levels, and we’ve put together a quick list of tips for parents. This list is aimed at helping you prevent dental anxiety from developing in your children, as well as helping you to reduce any anxiety they may already have.
1. Incorporate Dental Storybooks into Story Time
There are many children's books out there that cover “going to the dentist,” and they are a great way to reduce your child’s dental anxiety. The use of colorful pictures, simple and easy-to-understand wording, and an enjoyable visit to the dentist for the story’s protagonist will help quell your child’s fear of the dentist while helping them form a better understanding of what will happen at the dentist’s office!
2. Start Taking Your Children to the Dentist While They’re Young
Schoolhouse Family Dentistry recommends parents bring their children in for their first dental appointment when their first tooth appears, and no later than their first birthday. Not only is taking your kids in for an early dental check-up beneficial for their overall oral health, it will help them become familiar with the dentist, the office, and basic dental procedures like cleanings.
3. Simple Communication
If your child is showing signs of stress and anxiety concerning an upcoming dental appointment, the best solution is to talk to them about it. Ask them if they have any questions about their scheduled appointment and do your best to answer honestly. Try to avoid vague responses like, “It will be okay,” or “Everything is going to be fine.” Although those responses aren't necessarily false, they don’t tell your child what to expect about their upcoming visit. Not knowing what is going to happen is a common cause of stress when being introduced to something new. Simple explanations such as, “Dr. John just wants to check your smile and count your teeth” will help ease their fears.
4. Go to a Family Dentist
Going to a family dentist is a great option for any children’s dental health needs, especially if your child has anxiety about going to the dentist. The advantage of working with a family-focused dental clinic, such as Schoolhouse, is that they’re prepared. The staff at Schoolhouse Family Dentistry have experience dealing with children and ensuring they have a great dental experience. Our team pays attention to the small details to provide you and your child with a relaxing dental experience.
5. Teach Your Children the Importance of Dental Hygiene Early On
One of the best ways to help your children’s fear of the dentist is to educate them about why taking care of their teeth is important. As a parent, you should set an example of what maintaining healthy, strong teeth should involve. Model brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly. If your children see you taking care of your teeth and being excited to go to the dentist every six months, they’ll most likely start to mimic your behaviors and attitudes.
Remember, dental anxiety is common in children and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your children’s oral health is important, Schoolhouse Family Dentistry has experience working with young children who are nervous or afraid of going to the dentist. Call our office today and set up a consultation for you and your child!