How Can I Calm Down My Child who is Scared of the Dentist?
Even very young children need regular dental care, but this can be made more difficult if your child is fearful about a visit to the dentist. Fortunately, there are several ways you can help prepare your child and make the visit go more smoothly so he or she can easily get needed care without too much pediatric dental anxiety. In this blog, the pediatric dentists at Park View Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in NYC offer tips to help make your child feel more comfortable during dental appointments:
Start taking them to a pediatric dentist when they’re at a young age
A child’s first dentist visit should take place within six months after the tooth erupts or by their first birthday. Starting early will not only help take care of their oral health, but also make going to the dentist routine. In addition, choosing a pediatric dentist can also be helpful. They have additional training for child’s dental issues and are used to helping fearful children. Their offices are also usually very child-friendly.
Stay positive when talking about the dentist
Don’t use fearful words like “shot” or “hurt” when you’re describing a dental visit. And if you are somewhat anxious at the dentist, don’t pass your anxiety along to your child. Instead, stress the positive, such as fun office activities. You can also office small rewards such as stickers or temporary tattoos to associate the dentist with a positive experience.
Play pretend with your child
Before your child’s dental appointment, play a game of pretend dentist and patient. Hold up a mirror and show how the dentist may look at your child’s teeth, and count them. Then, switch roles and ask your child to use a toothbrush to clean the teeth of a favorite stuffed animal or doll. Picture books can also help demonstrate when happens during a dentist’s visit in a child-friendly, non-threatening way.
Schedule a meet and greet with the pediatric dentist
Try to schedule a visit where you take the child to the pediatric dentist’s office and meet with him or her and the staff. This will help your child become more familiar and comfortable with the dentist, staff, and surroundings. If there are fun activities to do, make sure to point them out to your child and let him or her take a few minutes to play so the dentist’s office is associated with positivity.
Use relaxation and distraction techniques
If your child becomes anxious, encourage and demonstrate relaxation exercises such as breathing in deeply and exhaling slowly in a rhythmic manner. You can also teach your child to perform progressive muscle relaxation by closing his eyes and tensing and relaxing groups of muscles in sequence.
When it’s time to take your child to the dentist, make an appointment with Park View Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in NYC. We’d be happy to have a meet-and-greet with you and your child to help alleviate his anxiety. Our dentists and entire staff are experienced in treating fearful children and will show compassion while explaining things in a child-friendly way. Our office is designed to put children at ease. It overlooks beautiful Central Park and is filled with bright colors and fun activities that will help keep your child happily occupied and comfortable.
Call (212) 879-6518 today or fill out the form on this page to request an appointment.