Tips to Help Kids Overcome A Fear of the Dentist

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It’s natural for young children to fuss during a visit to the dentist but it’s important that this doesn’t interfere with their dental health. Here are some simple tips from Smile On Dental Salon to make your child’s next dental visit a success for everyone involved.

Introduce Good Habits Early

Emphasize the importance of dental health by establishing a morning and evening brushing and flossing ritual with your child. Find ways to make the routine fun by integrating games or stories. Also plan to discuss with them why strong, healthy teeth are important to their smile. Once they began to understand the concept of oral hygiene, a child will recognize why regular visits to the dentist are important. Teach your child that a dentist will take care of her teeth so they are strong enough for her to eat. Emphasize that preventive measures like a visit to the dentist will also prevent cavities. The goal is to create a sense of responsibility so your children will be motivated to do what it takes to keep their teeth strong.

Consider a Pretend Visit

If your child has developed a fear of the dentist since his or her last appointment, it may help to role-play a visit. Play pretend with your daughter and count her teeth and hold up a mirror to show how a dentist would look at and check her teeth. It’s important to avoid lining up “instruments” or making drilling noises as they can trigger anxiety. Your child can also pretend to brush the teeth of a familiar stuffed animal or doll in order to get used to the routine. There are many picture books that can help children know what to expect including Dora the Explorer’s “Show Me Your Smile!: A Visit to the Dentist” and Spongebob Squarepants’ “Behold No Cavities! A Visit to the Dentist”.

Relax. Yes, That Means You, Too.

First experiences can be a bit scary. Children pick up on our emotional cues in ways and at times we don’t always realize. One of the easiest ways to keep them at ease is to make sure you’re relaxed. If you have more than one child, that can also mean getting a sitter for the other(s) so the first-timer can have your undivided attention and patience.

Practice Positive Reinforcement

Whether it’s tooth brushing or a visit to the dentist’s office, a bit of positive reinforcement goes a long way. When it’s tooth-brushing time, follow up with a short game or bedtime story. When their visit to Smile On Dental Salon is complete, take the time to go somewhere special. That creates a positive association with oral health. Remember, however, not to bribe your child. Giving her a sugary treat like a lollipop or other candy will send the wrong message after a dental cleaning. It’s better to be emotionally supportive and praise a child after a dental visit for good behavior or bravery.

As parents, we’d do anything for our kids. Taking care of their dental health is high on that list, and if it’s handled thoughtfully, it doesn’t have to be stressful for either of you. If you’re located in Chicago and would like to schedule preventive dental care with Smile On Dental Salon for yourself or your little one, call  773-570-1630 today!

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