Some children, and even a lot of adults, are absolutely terrified of going to the dentist. Whether this is due to a bad experience in the past, or it is based off of some other unknown factor, it can be an extremely difficult issue for a parent or guardian to tackle. A survey examining kids’ attitudes towards going to the dentist found that 11% of kids did not like the dentist, and that 12% were actually scared of the dentist.1 This is not an unusual fear to tackle, and I’m confident that you’ll be able to handle it.
As a Puyallup dentist who specializes in offering family dental services, I’ve had a vast amount of experience working with children and their parents. Through my experience and that of my patients, I have found the following tips help a lot of children to lose their fear, some may even begin to enjoy their trip to the dentist’s office.
Tips for Helping Kids Conquer their Fear of the Dentist
Start Them When They are Young
I’m not just saying this because I’m a cosmetic dentist in Puyallup- start your kids in at the dentist as early as possible, because that will make it just seem just like a normal part of life. Often parents who wait to take their kids into a dentist until later in life end up having issues. This will not only prevent the fear in the first place, but it is actually a good move for the child’s long-term oral health as well.
Do Not Freak them Out Before the Visit
Sometimes a kid establishes a fear of the dentist’s office before they even get there. Make sure before you take them that you don’t make too big of a deal of the visit, because often kids will feed off whatever emotions that you are projecting. Also, try to avoid any negative wording or scary phrases like “it may hurt a little bit”.
Make It Fun
Chances are that whenever your kid goes to the dentist, you’ll need to take the time off from work to take them to the appointment. Make going to the dentist be associated with a fun tradition like going to the park afterwards, playing a board game or something like that. This way whenever you tell them you’re going to the dentist, they’ll know they get to spend some extra bonding time with you.
Choose a Family Friendly Dentist
As someone who practices as a Puyallup dentist, we work hard to make our office family friendly. Not all dentists’ offices offer the type of environment that caters to the needs of the family, so try to seek out a dental office that actually makes the experience as stress-free as possible for your child and the rest of your family.