It is not uncommon for children to dread a trip to the dentist’s office or have dental anxiety…let’s face it: many adults do, as well. The trick is not to feed into a child’s nervousness.
In truth, children who have never been to the dentist’s office have no experiences upon which to base anxiety. It’s commentary from parents and older siblings that causes children to fear the dentist before their first visit.
To prepare your child for a dental visit, answer all of his or her questions without making the trip seem like a big deal. It is very easy for a nervous parent to transfer that energy to his or her child. Phrases like, “the dentist is going to count your teeth”, or “the dentist is very friendly”, or “there are fun toys in the waiting room”, or “the dentist has a chair that goes up and down like a rocket” are all helpful. Some parents find that their children do better when they know every detail of what the trip will entail before they get there, while others prefer to tell their children nothing. This is up to the parent, as you know best how your child will react to this new experience.
If you feel that informing your child as to the proceedings involved in a visit to the dentist, here is a quick summary. First, the dentist will gently examine your child’s head, neck, teeth, and gums. He or she will also evaluate your child’s bite, or occlusion. Last, your child will have his or her teeth cleaned and treated with fluoride before the dentist discusses his or her findings with you. That’s not so bad, is it?
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