Does your child fear going to the dentist? You are not the only one. Many children fear the dentist because of the strange noises and, oftentimes, pain that accompany their visits. There are a few things that you, as their parent, can do to help make their experience more enjoyable. Listed are three suggestions to consider.
Carefully Choose Your Words
When preparing for your child’s visit to the dentist be aware of the words you use. It’s easy to forget how powerful words can be, especially on a young and impressionable mind. If you tell your child that it might hurt a little, that will be the only thing they think about as they sit down for their appointment.
“My favorite thing to have parents tell their child is that we are going to check their smile and count their teeth — that’s it, nothing else,” says Michael J. Hanna, D.M.D., a pediatric dentist in McKee Rocks, Pennsylvania, and a national spokesperson of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Just remember to try and keep your language simple and positive when getting ready to visit the dentist.
Use a Pediatric Dentist
If possible, take your child to see a pediatric dentist. Dental hygienists and dentists are practiced at putting kids at ease. They know what language to use with small children to help make their experience as comfortable as possible.
Pediatric dentists have also been specially trained in treating the developing teeth of children. They not only help to care for the cavities and gum problems that may accompany a young mouth, but they also know how to help children learn about preventative care.
Another reason to choose a pediatric dental office is that the office itself is typically designed for kids. The rooms have fun colorful murals on the walls and the setup is more conducive for entertaining kids with TVs, toys, and children’s books about teeth.
Try Laser Dentistry
Some pediatric offices offer kids laser dentistry. LASER is an acronym for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.” Laser treatment is a minimally invasive way to safely treat children’s teeth. It can be used to detect cavities, reshape gum tissue, and deal with tooth sensitivity.
Alligator Pediatric Dentistry explains, “Lasers are being safely used in most dental procedures, and very often they can eliminate the need for anesthesia or sutures.”
Laser dentistry often decreases numbness and bleeding and helps to reduce gum damage. With all these benefits kids are usually able to heal faster and get back to their everyday activities sooner.
Your child’s trip to the dentist doesn’t have to be traumatizing for either of you. Simple choices you make can largely impact the experience that your child has when “going to check their smile.”
One last small tip: Children can sense your anxiety, so if you hate the dentist, they will know and most likely mirror your feelings towards getting their teeth looked at. If you can stay positive, that will help your child immensely.