How to reduce your child's fear of the dentist
Going to the dentist can be a tough experience for children. Having someone they barely know obstruct their mouth for an extended period of time, the possibility of pain, and the possible feeling of powerlessness can cause a child to recoil when it comes to going to the dentist.
Here are a few tips to help reduce your child’s fear of going to the dentist.
1. Find the root cause of their fear to debunk it.
Your child may have a very rational fear of a loss of power as they may be unable to communicate during a cleaning. Or, it may be because of the obstructed breathing. Figuring out why the child is fearful of the dentist could help you understand and empathize with your child, which will make them feel more comfortable with their fear.
2. Consistency is key.
Make sure that you schedule regular dentist appointments- every six months, you should be scheduling a cleaning. The more the child visits the dentist, the more comfortable they will get with the staff and the office.
3. Reward your child after the first few visits.
Rewards are a great way to motivate your child to associate the dentist with something more positive. There’s no need to bribe your child, but it couldn’t hurt to give a little something small after a successful visit. After the child gets used to the dentist, you can wean off of the rewards and let them do their thing.
4. Set a good example and go to the dentist with them.
Schedule your cleanings at a similar time as your child’s so they can observe your appointment before theirs. This will help them get used to what a dentist does during a cleaning.
5. Practice with a mock dentist visit.
This could function as a little game with your child where you role play what it’s like to go to the dentist. You can show them what the process is like at a real dentist office.