Scared young dental patient

Help Your Child Fight His Fear of the Dentist

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For children, a visit to the dentist is like an overnight expedition to a haunted house. It scares them, and they’re sure that nothing but pain awaits them. But going to the dentist regularly is a must, so kids should be able to dispel their fear if they want to keep their teeth clean and healthy.

Fortunately, there are ways to help your child get rid of his fear and agree to visit a dentist in Utah County. Just follow the suggestions below, and your child might soon be eager to visit his dentist for his monthly dental checkup.

Play pretend

You can help your son be less scared of his dentist by role-playing in your home first. Ask your son to play pretend, and you can be the patient or any of his toys. You can tell him what a dentist often does, reinforcing in your child’s mind that all the procedures are for the well-being of the patient. It’s important to teach your child that a visit to the dentist will always result in having healthier teeth and gums so that he has an apparent reason why he has to go to the dentist.

Be honest

It won’t help if you tell your child that when the dentist cleans his teeth, everything will be all right because it will feel painful for him. A child has a lower pain threshold than an adult, so if general teeth cleaning isn’t painful for an adult, it can certainly be painful for a child.

But the real reason why you shouldn’t tell your child that everything will be all right is that if the procedure ends up hurting him, he will lose his trust in you and the dentist, making him more scared of going back to that clinic. One thing you can do is to assure your child that the procedure is to take care of his teeth, and if he feels pain during the process, you’ll be right there to hold his hand. And if the pain is too unbearable for him, you can stop for a moment until the pain goes away.

But spare your child the details

Child hugging his dadIt won’t help if you give your son too many details about the procedure. Just keep it simple and tell him that the dentist will clean his teeth and make sure that there are no cavities. Also, avoid using words that kids often associate with pain, like needles, drilling, and scraping. Instead, keep reminding him that the whole procedure is to take care of his teeth.

Let him bring his security blanket

If your son has a teddy bear, a blanket or any toy that he likes to hold onto whenever he’s stressed, bring it. Having something familiar to hold onto can boost your child’s confidence and strength during a time when he is likely to be shaking in fear.

Be a role model

You are your son’s most prominent and most accessible role model, so you should let him know that you also need to go to the dentist regularly. One thing that you can do to instill confidence in your child is to schedule a visit to the dentist for both of you.

When your child sees you sitting on a dental chair without grimacing in pain, you’re showing your son that the whole procedure is not that scary. Upon seeing that you’re able to survive a visit to the dentist, your son might have the confidence to be checked by a dentist, too.

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