Got a little one that has some extra anxiety around dental visits?
It’s normal for people of all ages to have some trepidation about seeing the dentist. But there are ways you can help your little guy or gal overcome their fears.
Read on for some great ideas!
Identify their fears
It’s helpful to know what exactly about their dental visit is the scariest part.
Are they afraid of the hygienist’s face mask? Is there a scary poster on the wall? Do they hate the taste of the toothpaste that’s offered?
Identifying fears can help you work with your child’s dental team to figure out a solution. Also, sometimes just talking through fears can help your child feel more relaxed.
Ask if they’d like you to be in the room
Would it help your child to have you holding her hand or rubbing her leg?
Or are they better off feeling a sense of autonomy and empowerment by being brave?
Determine which is the right approach for their visit.
Teach simple relaxation techniques
Practice doing deep breathing techniques at home. Have them breathe in for 5 seconds, and then out for 5 seconds. Tell them to try this during any time in their visit that causes them fear.
You can also suggest playing a game of imagination. Have them imagine their favorite activity, such as playing soccer or blowing out birthday candles.
Ask about sedation options
Depending on the age of your child, there may be sedation options such as using nitrous oxide.
Your dentist will be able to explain the different options and any associated risks.
Offer a reward
If you use a reward system in your parenting, remind your child about something they will receive once their visit is over. Perhaps a new toy or a trip to their favorite ice cream place is enough to distract them during their visit.
See a psychologist
If your child is fearful to the point of being hysterical or unable to cope with their visits, seek out the help of a local counselor who has helped other children in this area.
Visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be a scary experience. In fact, many offices have special prizes, fun décor, or fun television programs ready to provide a pleasant experience for kids.
What’s important is working with your child to address their fears instead of pretending they don’t exist or shouldn’t be feeling them. Power on, parents!