Let’s face it, no one really likes going to the dentist (if you do, why?!?).But for children, it seems like a very scary place. A big chair with lots of instruments attached to it is not the most welcoming sight. So how do we ease their fears about visiting the dentist?
According to information on NHS Choices, 1 in 5 of us are scared of going to the dentist. Thoughts of pain or bad memories of the dentist as a child have actually stopped some people from visiting the dentist for years.
I am not a big fan of the dentist myself. As a child my jaw was overcrowded and I had to have 11 teeth out! Then I had to have braces, not fun. Before I had the kids I didn’t really visit a dentist for years. But once Ben Bob was at the age he needed to start going, I had to give in and go.
It is important that our kids gt their teeth checked every six months. This helps to stop problems arising, keep a track of how their teeth are coming in and most importantly that they are being cleaned nicely.
I have come up with some tips (some that I still use now even though the kids are older, big kids get scared too!) that I have used to make the whole experience easier on us all.
Starting them going to the dentist at a young age means they will get used to going. Ideally you should take them for their first visit around age 1. You can’t really explain to a 1-year-old what the dentist is, but if you hold them in the chair and comfort them it should go ok.
I have also found that if I get my teeth checked first, it puts the kids at ease. Watching me have my check shows them that nothing bad will happen. If I do need anything doing (which is rare) the dentist tells me afterwards and I get things done without the kids there. They don’t need to see mum scared!
Some people think having your checkup with the kids is not the best idea incase they realise you are scared. But it has always worked for us. Still does now the kids are 11 and 18!
Talking to your kids before hand is a good idea. Give them an idea of what is going to happen. Do be careful not to mention any horrible equipment or bad experiences you have had as this can worry them and you might not get them through the door.
I used to tell my kids that the dentist puts a mirror in your mouth to count your teeth and to make sure your teeth are really shiny. Both kids were ok with this, it sounded good to them!
Finally bribery. Well, telling them the dentist will give them a sticker if they are good and sit nicely. This again still works for my daughter. What is it with kids and stickers?
I hope that some of these tips will help you to ease your kids fear and make the dentist visit a lot less stressful.
Take care everyone.