As a child, and even as an adult, it’s common to be nervous about going to the dentist. If your child is facing anxiety about an upcoming trip to the pediatric dentist, I have a few tips to help put them at ease. After years of experience with pediatric patients, I have discovered ways for parents to help their child feel comfortable and ready for a trip to the dentist.
Prepping for a child’s first dentist appointment
Children often face anxiety about their first trip to the pediatric dentist. There are a lot of unknowns for them, and that can be scary. I often recommend parents do their best to prepare their child by explaining what is going to happen at the appointment so they are more comfortable. One of the best ways to do this is by showing your child videos, reading books, or demonstrating a dental exam with toy instruments.
Helping Your Child Feel Relaxed at the Dentist
Maybe your child has already had their first appointment, and they are still facing an uneasiness about visiting the dentist. If this is the case, there are a few ways to help your child feel more comfortable going to their dental appointments.
- Positive reinforcement. Encourage your child to feel comfortable at the dentist by rewarding them with their favorite food, toy, or activity after an appointment.
- Using words without negative connotations. There is a benefit to using words that are positive and don’t sound “scary.” Avoid using words like shot, drill, or pain when talking about a procedure.
- Explain the importance of dental hygiene. If your child understands how necessary a dentist appointment is, they will be more likely to go and feel better about the appointment.
There are other great ways to help reduce dental anxiety. At Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry’s Waverly office, we have a rehabilitative facility dog to help patients with anxiety. ATKINS greets patients in the lobby, escorts them back to the exam room, and even lays with the patient during their appointment. This method of reducing dental anxiety has proven to be successful in dental offices across the globe. If your child is dealing with dental anxiety, con