Dental care is a vital aspect of healthy oral development. Research indicates that children who are exposed to routine dental care from an early age, and whose experiences are positive, establish a better attitude toward dentistry. Additionally, they develop into a great lifelong patient. If you are a parent of a child with dental anxiety, you know that this is no small feat. For some people, the mere idea of a routine dental visit goes hand in hand with stress.
It is important to recognize it can be an instinctive reaction for a child to feel uneasy by the clinical environment of the average dental practice. Parents should find a dentist who understands and listens to children while prioritizing their comfort to create positive dental experiences. NYC sedation dentists Dr. Siegelman and Dr. Ng specialize in providing exceptional care to patients with dental phobia and dental anxiety, including children. Here, we discuss a few ways you can help your child adapt to the routine of checkups, cleanings, and other dental treatment.
- Role play. Playing is one way that children learn. Savvy parents can use this to their (and their child’s) advantage by playing the dentist in the comfortable setting of the home. Role play using a small mirror, a toothbrush, and a chair can enable the child to walk through a virtual checkup from both angles, that of the patient and that of the “dentist.” Make it fun!
- Communicate clearly. Be up front in telling a child they are going to see the dentist. Never use force; instead, try using positive reinforcement. Additionally, let them bring something comforting to their appointment, like a teddy bear or blanket.
- Stay positive! Be mindful of your words when you speak of the dentist. Don’t relate any of your negative past dental experiences on to your child. Talk to them about the positive aspects of the dental appointment, that their dentist will check their teeth, count their teeth, and clean their teeth. They get a fresh, clean smile!
- Stay calm. It can be difficult to feel calm when you sense your child’s anxiety. We understand, and we encourage patients to take a deep breath and talk with us about their concerns so we may explain how we work with children to make dentistry a positive experience.
- Find a dental practice dedicated to meet your needs. There are many solutions to help anxious patients, at any age. Sometimes simply being in a calm, caring environment helps ease anxiety or perhaps a little sedation is needed to help patients relax. Children are not excluded from the benefits of safe, customized sedation services. It’s important to find a dental office that understands your child’s needs and prioritizes their comfort.