Many people feel nervous about visiting the dentist, and that includes kids, too! Here’s some advice for how you, as a parent, can help your children feel better about her upcoming appointment.
Talking About It
Talk to your child about the appointment using language she will understand, depending on her age. If your child is quite young, avoid specifics. Simply explain that they dentist will look in her mouth and count her teeth, and make sure that they’re all healthy.
Be honest about what will happen at the dentist’s office at the outset, if your child asks you a question about it.
If your child asks you if the dentist will do anything that hurts, you don’t want to say “no”, and then have something that hurts a little happen. This just diminishes trust, and could make the anxiety worse.
However, you can soften your language; the fact is that dental appointments rarely involve pain, and you can make that clear.
Avoid using scary words like “hurt” or “pain”. You can explain that sometimes during the appointment, they might feel a bit uncomfortable or weird, and that they may feel a poke or a pinch here and there.
There are tons of great books, videos and other resources out there that can help you prepare your child for a visit to the dentist.
Many of these are specifically designed to put children at ease about this experience.
Avoid communicating your own anxieties.
Many adults feel anxious about visiting the dentist, for a wide range of reasons.
Some have had negative dental experiences in the past. Others have a fear of needles, and some simply hate the invasive feeling that comes with having someone poking around in their mouths!
If you feel uneasy about visiting the dentist, it’s perfectly understandable! But for the benefit of your child, you must try to hide these feelings.
At the end of the day, you want your children to feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible when it comes time to visit the dentist. If they find out that their brave, confident mom or dad gets nervous about visiting the dentist, they’ll think they have something to be worried about too.
So, avoid discussing your anxieties about dental treatment with or in front of your child.
If your child asks you directly, you don’t have to lie, but try and change the perspective a bit:
“Yes, I sometimes feel a bit nervous about visiting the dentist, but I know my dentist always does a really good job, and I trust him completely.”
Talk to us.
During the appointment, before treatment begins, our dentists will be happy to sit down with you and your child to talk about whatever fears she has about the appointment.
We do this all the time, so we know exactly what to say! Plus, talking to us ahead of time means we’ll know what’s bothering your child, and we can take steps throughout treatment to put her at ease.