There could be many reasons why a child doesn’t like sitting in the dentist’s chair, and the secret to providing a solution is to understand the underlying cause of the fear. It may have been the result of a bad dental experience at some time in the past, which is very understandable when you consider how the young mind works, and with that in mind, here are a few tips to help your child reduce their anxiety when going to the dentist.
- Start at a Very Early Age – The sooner your child experiences a dental appointment, the better, and most dentists will recommend the first visit should be when the child is about one year old, or when the first milk teeth erupt. This helps because the child has yet to develop a real dislike and early visits help to make the child understand there is no need to be concerned. Here is a great article on how to best prepare your child for their first dental appointment, which is recommended reading for all new parents.
- Keep Things Simple – It isn’t a good idea to go into too much detail about what will happen during the dental examination, otherwise the child might start to think about pain and discomfort. If you are based in Bangkok, check out the child friendly dentists who can be found at https://www.bwcdentalclinic.com/, which happens to be geared up for children.
- Choose your Words Carefully – Using terms like “injection”, “pain” and “shots” can cause a child to be afraid, while explaining that the dentist counts their teeth will go a long way towards calming then down. Words that really mean little to an adult can cause alarm within a child’s mind, so do choose your words carefully.
- Take your child to the Dentist for a Non-Treatment Experience – If the child is experiencing a new environment, this merely adds to the nervousness, and by taking your child the next time you have a dental check-up, this will make a big difference when their first appointment comes along. If, on the other hand, your treatment includes drilling and local anaesthetic, it might be wise to avoid bringing your child along, as they will witness what looks a little scary.
Not all children a phased with a dental visit, but if it bothers your son or daughter, all of the above will help to reduce the stress.
- Discuss Dental Treatment with your Child – Avoiding the subject actually makes it more stressful, as the child has little to no idea of what to expect, so explain that every child needs to have their teeth counted, to make sure they are all in place and growing as they should be.
- Ignore the Tantrums – It is perfectly normal for a child to express their dislike of anything, and you should resist the temptation to intervene when the child is sitting in the chair. The dentist is very experienced at helping to reduce the anxiety in children when visiting the dentist, so let him or her do their thing and things should work out.
The most important thing is to find a child-friendly dentist, who would have a wealth of experience with anxious patients, especially children.