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Dental Anxiety in Kids: How to Relax Your Child at a Kids Dentist in Arlington

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Every parent knows good oral health is vital to the health of your kids. And sticking to a daily brushing and flossing regimen as well as seeing the dentist twice a year is the best way to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy.

If your kids panic when you pull into the dentist parking lot, there are ways to calm them down before seeing the dentist.

Here’s how to relax your child before seeing a kids dentist in Arlington.

Start Young

Your child should start visiting the dentist when they’re a year old. This is when their teeth become visible.

However, they probably won’t remember their visits at that young of an age.

That’s why it’s important to not only start taking them to the dentist at a young age but to also stay consistent. This way, they become used to seeing the dentist and will know what to expect.

Avoid Negative Words

Your children hang onto your every word. If you mention anything about “painful” procedures or how the dentist “hurts” your teeth, you’ll send your children into a frenzy.

Instead, focus on positive words. For example, your child may dislike their dental cleanings. Reinforce them by saying they will have “clean” and “healthy” teeth.

You can also state that the dentist helps them achieve a beautiful smile and even white teeth.

What if your child needs to have a procedure that requires a shot of Novocain, such as a cavity filling? Should you warn your child that they will be getting a shot? Yes, but it’s important to use child-friendly language.

Instead of mentioning how badly the shot will hurt, say the shot is only brief and they won’t feel anything!

Schedule a Pre-Appointment Meeting

You’ll be surprised how many dentist offices are willing to have your child come in for a pre-appointment meeting. This meeting occurs before your appointment. Your child meets the dentist, the staff, and they tour the facility.

These meetings are also beneficial for the dentist. Your dentist wants to build a relationship and rapport with your child. This initial meeting helps your dentist get to know your child.

Host a Pretend Dentist Visit

If your dentist isn’t able to schedule a pre-appointment meeting, you can host a pretend dentist visit at home. Pretend you’re the dentist. Start by evaluating your child’s teeth and holding up a mirror so they can see their teeth.

You can also brush and floss your child’s teeth, explaining they do this in the routine cleaning. It’s best to not go in-depth about drilling; however, you can explain your dentist has many tools to help give you the cleanest teeth.

Want to make the pretend visit more fun for your child? Sit down in the chair and let your child be the dentist, examining and cleaning your teeth.

Keep Answers Simple

If this is your child’s first time going to the dentist or if they’re getting a procedure done for the first time (such as a cavity filling), they will likely ask many questions. Try and keep your answers simple but also positive.

If your child needs a serious procedure, such as a cavity filling, maintain a positive attitude but don’t cover up the severity of the procedure.

If your child got a cavity because they ate sugar, you don’t want to say they will be okay because there are consequences of eating lots of sugar.

Instead of saying something negative, such as “this is what happens when you eat a lot of sugar,” say “your teeth don’t like sugar as much as you do!”

Only Take Them to a Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentists received specialty training to work with children and adolescents. While both are trained in oral hygiene and basic procedures, pediatric dentists understand how to best treat and communicate with children.

Pediatric dentists have a better understanding of child behavior. They know what children like, how to talk to them, and how to make dentist visits fun.

Pediatric dentist offices are child-friendly, featuring ways to keep children entertained in the waiting room and the office. You’ll find toys, books, games, and even some offices play children’s shows on TV.

Don’t Mention Your Experiences

Most adults don’t like the dentist, either. You’re probably one of them. This is why you should avoid discussing your dentist experiences, especially if you’ve had extensive work done. You may start feeling anxiety and your child can sense that.

If your child asks if you also visit the dentist, be honest and say you do.

But explain seeing the dentist is necessary for your health and they will continue visiting the dentist as they grow older. This answers their question honestly while avoiding any harsh details.

Provide Positive Reinforcement After the Appointment

What if the previous tips don’t work? Reward your child for going to the appointment. Rewarding them and encouraging positive reinforcement will give your child something to look forward to after the appointment.

What are some examples of rewards? Go to your child’s favorite place, whether it’s the park, the toy store, the mall, or even their favorite restaurant. You can even give them a gift after the appointment.

Are there any examples to avoid? Never give your child sweets after the appointment. They just had their teeth cleaned — the last thing you want to do is risk any cavities by giving your child ice cream and candy.

Are You Looking for a Kids Dentist in Arlington?

It’s normal for a child to be fearful of the dentist. But there are many ways to calm their anxieties and help prepare them for their dental visits in a positive way. You’ll also notice a big difference when you take them to a pediatric dentist.

Are you looking for a kids dentist in Arlington? Contact us today!