While a trip the dentist may seem normal to you, it's not unusual for for the dentist to be a scary place for your child. While your child is young, it is good to normalize visits to the dentist so that your child develops healthy dental habits. There are quite a few simple things you can do though to help your child not be afraid of the dentist, such as the following:
The best way to normalize dental visits is to take your child as soon as they are old enough. It is recommended that you start taking your child as soon as their first teeth come in. If your child has been going to the dentist since they can remember, it will seem like a normal part of their life.
Avoid Negative Words
Remember to keep it simple! Avoid divulging too many details about the visit so your child doesn't become anxious. Make sure not to say anything that can imply that any of the procedures might be painful or uncomfortable so that you don't psych your child out. Not to mention talking too much about procedures might leave your child worrying about what might happen. Leave all explanations to the dentist! A pediatric dentist knows how to talk to a child about their procedure so that it doesn't sound intimidating.
Don't Tell Them About Your Experiences
While it might be tempting to assure them through stories about your past visits this can end up making your child feel more anxious. Talking about drillings, root canals, braces, or any other potential things you have had can make your child feel like the dentist can be an uncomfortable place. It's also important to avoid taking your child along with you to your own dentist to show them "everything will be okay." Adult dentist offices can be sterile and uninviting, while a pediatric dentistry office often has a lot for your child to do in the lobby to keep their mind off the visit.
Don't Bribe Your Child
Bribing your child for being good during a visit might be really tempting. You want to promote healthy habits for your child and giving them any sort of sugary snack for a reward can really send the wrong message. Instead of giving them a treat, praise them and tell them they did good during the visit and that you are proud of them. Your approval will work just as well as any treat.
Hopefully, by following these four pieces of advice, you can help ease your child into dental care without them being afraid. This will lead to good habits and also make trips less fussy for you in general, which can be a huge relief.