The Secret of Helping Your Kids to Overcome the Fear of your Peoria Dentist!
As adults, most of us have been to see a Peoria dentist more times than we can count. To a child who may never have been to the dentist it can be a scary experience. We are all a little fearful of the unknown, and the first few trips to the dentist are unknown territory to a child. Everything about it is unfamiliar, beginning with the dentist who is a stranger, having to lay down in a chair and having unfamiliar instruments poke and prod around their mouth. They may be fearful of strangers, and they may be afraid that the dentist will hurt them. A Peoria pediatric dentist is trained in methods to put children at ease.
Peoria pediatric dentists recommend that your child’s first visit take place around the age of 1. By then most children have at least one visible tooth. In most cases this early visit will be quick and easy, paving the way for future visits to feel less unfamiliar. As a preparation for this early visit you may wish to read books to your child about going to the dentist. There are numerous books available about the subject, some featuring well loved cartoon characters.
Many pediatric dentists recommend that you play dentist with your child in order to familiarize them with what they can expect. You can even begin by sitting in a chair looking at a book to simulate the waiting room. When it’s your child’s “turn” help them into the pretend dentist chair, a recliner works well. Ask your child to open their mouth, count their teeth and gently clean them with a toothbrush. If your child is old enough you can explain to them that the dentist has a special tooth polisher that tickles, and uses a special flavored tooth polish. They may even be offered a choice of flavors. When you are finished, compliment them on how nice and clean their teeth are, tell them they did a good job and give them a sticker. You can then ask your child if they would like to be the dentist and examine and clean the teeth of a stuffed animal or doll. This type of role play will help alleviate much of their anxiety by making their visit to the dentist less of an unknown.
In preparation for a trip to the dentist try not to be too detailed in your explanations. Answer questions with short simple answers. Avoid words with negative connotations such as pain, hurt and shot. However, you don’t want to be dishonest with your child and risk losing their trust. Just be as positive as possible, using positive terms such as healthy, clean teeth. The objective is to allow the pediatric dentist to answer questions and explain procedures to your child, since they have been trained to use terminology that is less likely to provoke anxiety.
It’s completely natural for a young child to be unhappy at a dental visit. They may cry and refuse to sit still or open their mouth. If this happens it’s important that you remain unruffled and don’t communicate any anxiety to your child. Follow the cues of the dentist and staff, they have experienced anything your child may do and are trained in the appropriate ways to handle it. Your part is often to comfort and distract your child, possibly by holding their hand while discussing a favorite TV show, or what your plans are after you leave the dentist.
Children are naturally apprehensive of strangers, that’s why it’s important to see the dentist regularly, so that when the time comes that they require a more involved visit the dentist won’t be a total stranger.
Young children may not understand the importance of seeing the dentist, so it should be treated matter-of-factly, it’s simply a necessary part of life, like going to the doctor. While it’s probably not a good idea to offer a reward for going to the dentist, and it’s definitely a bad idea to offer a reward “if you don’t cry,” (which will make them wonder why they would cry), doing something fun after the dental appointment is a good idea. A trip to a dollar store or their favorite “kid’s meal” can serve as positive reinforcement, so that when they think of going to the dentist it feels like an overall positive experience. In addition, a Peoria pediatric dentist will often hand out a sticker or some other positive reinforcement when the visit is completed.
If your dentist is not patient with your child and does not make an effort to ease your child’s fears, you should consider finding a new dentist. The last thing you want is for your child to acquire a long-term fear of going to the dentist. A pediatric dentist is specially trained in putting a child at ease, and usually has some things in the office that are geared to making the experience more positive for your child, such as video games and kids shows playing on TV.
If in spite of the best efforts of your pediatric dentist your child continues to be extremely fearful, or requires extensive dental work, the dentist may recommend dental sedation in order to help your child relax. Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas is frequently used to help fearful children (and sometimes fearful adults.) If necessary, there are stronger forms of dental sedation available.
At Aesthetic Dentistry of Arrowhead, we believe that a pediatric dental exam is more than just looking a child’s teeth. Dr. Ceyhan will review your child’s health history and monitor the health of your child’s teeth and gums in addition to monitoring the growth of the jaws and face. In this way many future problems can be prevented. It’s never too early to begin a lifetime of good oral health, contact us today.
Glendale, Arizona 85308