Dental fear in children can lead to a lifetime of oral-health anxiety unless parents know the secrets for turning a trip to the dentist into a pleasant experience.
If your child is like most, even the thought of a routine teeth cleaning can trigger a tantrum. No matter how friendly and caring your dentist may be, your kid may be scared of the unfamiliar sights, sounds, and tastes that come with an oral health checkup. Thankfully, you can take steps as a parent to equip your kid with the knowledge and coping skills that can eliminate dental fear in children. Here are five ways to soothe and support your little one when your family receives dental services for kids in Little Rock.
1. Discuss the Details
Kids like to know what to expect when it is time for a dental visit, so discuss the important details about their appointment well in advance. Provide your child with a simple rundown of the examination and teeth cleaning process. During these discussions, carefully choose simple and positive words to avoid alarming your child. Make sure to talk about the benefits of the dental visit, but leave out any mentions of cavity repairs, braces, and other potentially stressful topics at this time.
2. Act It Out
A make-believe appointment at home can eliminate dental fears in children by placing them in the shoes of the dentist. Allow your child to use their imagination while you play the role of the patient. Your child can count your teeth, take “X-ray” photos with a smartphone, and gently brush your teeth to complete the visit. During this acting session, your child will not only become more comfortable with routine dental procedures but also learn how to act as the patient by observing your calm behavior.
3. Bring a Friend
Your child’s favorite stuffed animal, doll, or action figure can help ease fears by taking a turn in the dentist’s chair before your child’s appointment. Be sure to contact your dentist beforehand and set up a little extra time for this fun technique for calming dental fear. During the actual appointment, your child can hold onto the toy to remain comfortable and secure throughout each step of the process. The toy will also help your child keep their hands away from their mouth, which can be a tough challenge for young kids who may be suffering from a toothache or other dental issue.
4. Embrace Distractions
Music, games, and movies are all excellent distractions to bring along when your family is receiving dental services for kids. Your Little Rock dentist may already have a television in their office, but if not, consider bringing along a tablet or other handheld device so your child has access to their favorite online entertainment. Help your child get comfortable in the dental chair and greet the dentist before relying on distractions that will keep dental fear at bay.
5. Remain Positive
Even if you follow the previous four tips, dental fears can strike once your child sets foot in the dentist’s office. If your child has a meltdown, remain calm and positive while offering your support. Talk to your child in hushed, gentle tones to encourage them to settle down. If you notice your child on the brink of tears during the appointment, casually suggest a brief break to give your kid a chance to settle down before resuming. A five-minute pause can give your dentist the opportunity to explain the cleaning routine or make small talk that will restore your kid’s confidence and composure.
If you are interested in dental services for kids in Little Rock, contact Arkansas Family Dental by calling 501-683-8886 and scheduling an appointment. Our welcoming staff will provide expert care for your child’s teeth and make your family’s visit as stress-free as possible.
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