Is having a phobia normal? Of course, it is! It’s very common for adults to suffer from phobias, and it’s even more common in children. It could be clowns, a fear of the sea, a fear of fire, snakes or spiders! But for some, it’s the dentist. Having a fear of the dentist is also quite common but it can get in the way of ensuring your child maintains their good oral health. So, what can you do?
Well, here you’ll find a few helpful tips and ideas of how you can encourage your child to tackle their phobia.
The key to tackling your child’s dental anxiety is a good line of communication between you and your dentist. Dental practices like, docklandsdental.ie, pride themselves on being open and honest with their patients, and recognising that some patients need a little more help and encouragement than others to get into the chair. Before any visit, make sure that the dentist is aware of your child’s anxiety. Dentists are trained to deal with situations and will always do their utmost to ensure the visit goes smoothly and doesn’t make things worse.
Got an appointment looming? Don’t worry, why not try a little role play with your child before you need to go? Let your child play at being the dentist and then change roles, this let’s your child see that a trip to the dentist can be fun.
Did you know you could actually visit the dentist prior to the appointment? This might help your child get used to the sights and smells of the place, which can be quite daunting. Let them see that the staff are super friendly, let them play with the toys in the waiting room, or better still have one of their own favourites from home on standby for a little comfort.
Compliments and encouragement go a long way. Make sure your child knows that they have been brave, let them know that you’re pleased with how well they’ve coped with their visit to the dentist.
It can be easy to accidentally tell your child about an unpleasant dental experience you’ve had, even the slightest thing could be enough to frighten them. You also need to be wary of them listening in to your phone conversations too! If your child is asking you about the dentist, then always avoid using words such as “hurt”, “injection” or “painful”, even using words such as “only a little bit” can make anxiety soar, so just be careful!
Don’t give up
You may begin to dread every six months when the family appointment comes around again – you may think it easier just to avoid taking your child to the dentist until they’re older and they’re “over” their phobia. Where it’s true that many childhood phobias fade away over time, not taking your child to the dentist will be detrimental to their oral health. So always try to keep their appointment. Hang on in there!