Maybe your child doesn’t know why you’ve brought them to the dentist’s office in the first place. Maybe they’ve heard scary stories from their friends or siblings. Or maybe they just had a bad healthcare experience in the past. There are plenty of reasons why your child might develop a fear of the dentist, but you’ll have to help them overcome it if you want them to maintain excellent oral care habits in the future. Here are 3 tips for helping your little ones conquer their anxieties and making those visits to the children’s dentist in Phillipsburg a more pleasant experience.
1. Early Dental Checkups
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling your child’s first dental appointment before their first birthday. Scheduling these visits as early as possible can go a long way towards helping your little ones feel more comfortable in the environment of a dental practice. It also helps them make the distinction between a dentist and a general doctor, so a bad experience with one won’t necessarily hurt their perception of the other.
Of course, these early checkups are important for protecting their pearly whites as well! The dentist in Phillipsburg can find and treat cavities before they become severe oral health issues, and they can give parents tips about brushing and oral development.
Modeling is a technique where the dentist lets an anxious child watch their older siblings or a stranger around their own age receive a dental examination and cleaning. The dentist might take the time to show the child the tools they use and what they’re doing. This helps your little one understand the process and can reduce the “fear of the unknown” factor. There are many studies in scientific literature that demonstrate modeling works; ask your dentist about it during your next visit!
3. Letting Them See for Themselves
It might seem strange, but sometimes not sharing the details about the dental appointment ahead of time and letting your child experience it for themselves can go a long way towards helping their anxieties. Sometimes talking about what’s going to happen before you get to the practice can make them more nervous, even if they don’t show it. A good children’s dentist will have their own way of making their new patients feel comfortable at the practice. Alternatively, you could show your child a video of what happens during a checkup instead of just talking about it.
These are just a few ideas for soothing dental anxieties. Your dentist might have a few other suggestions as well (such as using sedation dentistry). If your child seems afraid of having a dental appointment, helping them take the steps to overcome it could make all the difference in protecting their smiles for life.
About the Author
Dr. Nélida Garcia-DeMartino is the founder and Director of the Children’s Dental Health Center at DeMartino Dental Group. She provides the compassionate, modern care that will help your little one feel at ease while their pearly whites are being examined and cleaned. To schedule an appointment, visit her website or call (908) 859-5260.
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