Kids are scared of the dentist. In fact, thirty percent of kids say they are scared to visit the dentist.
You can help your child deal with a fear of the dentist by using these strategies.
- Don’t Pass on Your Fears to Your Kids
The above survey found that kids whose parents are afraid of the dentist are much more likely to be scared of visiting the dentist than kids of parents who are not afraid of the dentist. While dental phobia isn’t easy to deal with, try not to expose your kids to your fears. Let them make up their own minds about the dentist.
- Play Dentist at Home
Get your child ready for a dentist visit by trying a game of make-believe: Have your child play the patient while you play the dentist. Pretend to clean their teeth and check for cavities, and answer any questions they might have about the process.
- Talk About Their Fears
Show your child that their fear of the dentist is nothing to be ashamed about. Discuss their concerns, and try to alleviate them if you can. Most importantly, listen. Kids appreciate being treated respectfully and allowed to talk. Resist the urge to tell them their fears are silly or that they shouldn’t worry. Be a good listener, and you’ll be amazed at how the issue begins to resolve itself.
- Begin Visiting the Dentist While They’re Young
Fear of the dentist can be a learned behavior. If your child is old enough to talk to other kids at school about the dentist, they may notice others are scared and become fearful themselves. Don’t allow that to happen. Start bringing your child to the dentist as soon as they get their baby teeth — they’ll become comfortable with cleaning and familiar with your dentist.