Kids, more often than not, have a unnecessary amount of anxiety when going to the dentist. Even though visits are usually painless (or actually help treat pain), kids tend to still feel nervous about getting their annual checkup. Here are a few things you can do as a parent to help ease the anxiety levels so that going to the dentist can be a pleasant experience for all!
- Early Visits: This doesn’t mean go to the dentist earlier in the morning. It means take your kids to the dentist when they’re young so that they can get familiar with your dentist, the office, and the treatment room. The more familiar they are, the better they’ll feel about going. It’s even better if you both go to the same dentist and you take them with you a few times first to show that it’s nothing to be scared about.
- Language: When you’re young, language can bring up very vivid emotions. Words such as “pain” or “shot” can trigger immediate tension. Instead of saying “Don’t worry! It won’t hurt!” you can say, “Let’s see how many teeth you have! Dr. Burio wants to see how much you’ve grown!” or something along those lines.
- Shift Focus: If you mention the dentist visit in passing and focus on the delicious lunch you’ll be having after, or a birthday party coming up that weekend, you can make your child feel like the dentist visit is not a big deal. The more you try to focus your attention on the visit itself, the more likely it is that your kids will feel stressed and overthink the appointment.
- Educate: A dental chair can look daunting and dental tools can look very intimidating if you see them for the first time. To help ease the fear of the unknown, you can get a book written for kids about dentists/dentistry or what to expect that the dentist. You can also play pretend dentist at home and go through pretend dental visits where your child plays the dentist.
Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating patients in the New Fairfield, CT area for over twenty-five years. If you have any questions, call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.