Visiting the dentist can be a daunting experience at any age but particularly if you are young and it is your first visit to the dentist.
If your little one is frightened about going to the dentist then you may find that the following advice on how to deal with dental fear in Children helps him relax and not be quite as scared.
The earlier the better
The longer you leave it until your child’s first dentist visit the harder it will be to get your youngster accustomed to visiting the dentist. The American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry advises that children should make their first trip to the dentist at approximately one year old, when their milk teeth begin to come through.
Play dentist and patient role plays
Young children love to act out role plays and before their first ‘big trip’ to the dentist it could be worth playing dentist and patient role plays and this will get them used to the idea of what will happen at the dentist. Let your child be the dentist and you be the patient and you never know your child may even become slightly excited about his trip to see the ‘real thing’.
Stress how important a visit to the dentist is
Your child’s fear of the dentist may be significantly lessened if you explain to him how important a visit to the dentist is. Show your little one pictures of toothless pirates in his books and explain that if we don’t look after our teeth, including making regular trips to the dentist, our teeth may rot, need fillings and even fall out!
Refrain from using negative words
When talking to your child about his impending visit to the dentist don’t use ‘negative’ words such as ‘pain’, ‘hurt’ and ‘cry’. Instead fill your child’s mind with ‘positive’ images of the dentist, such as being given a special sticker at the end of the check-up and how clean and white his teeth will look.
Praise your child
When your youngster has finished in the dentist’s chair make sure you give him plenty of praise and remind him that it wasn’t that terrible after all! In praising your child it may make him more mentally prepared and less frightened when his next dentist appointment arrives on the doormat in six months’ time!