Going to the dentist has been a general childhood fear of most of ours for as long as dentists have existed. Some children power through and eventually lose most of their unease as they mature.
Some become phobic and dental care becomes a traumatic necessity that they put off as they become adults. Studies show that our dental health is very much tied to our overall physical health, so an adult who avoids getting dental care may be harming themselves in a much bigger way than they think.
How We Can Help While it may be easier to just tell your child that this is a part of life and they need to learn to deal with it, that is highly unhelpful for the majority and leaves them feeling helpless and alone in their fear. They need your support and here are a few ways you can be an empowering superhero to them:
Acknowledge how they feel. Once your child knows you don't think they're weak or crazy for being afraid, it takes a huge burden of self-doubt off of them. Tell them your own story of overcoming dental anxiety. Or if you haven't, overcome this anxiety together. Kids are amazing cheerleaders!
Arm them with information. The more they know going in, more often, the better. The unknown is terrifying for us as adults, so much more so for children. Be honest, but not graphic, with your descriptions of sensations/tastes/smells they might experience. This helps give your child some sense of control, and that is so important in any experience they deem traumatic.
Let them get to know the staff. Allowing them to realize that most of the dental staff are also mommies and daddies who don't want to hurt, but to help, can be huge for your child. Our dental office is not just scary tools, but more importantly, caring people who are there to make life better for them.
As always, if we can help with your child's dental anxiety in any way, please call our office. We're here to help!