Going to the dentist is a regular part of life, one that your child will need to get accustomed to. Skipping the dentist because they're scared is a bad idea as it increases the risk of them developing a dental problem that could cause pain and require more in-depth care. If you're trying to reassure your child about the dentist and don't know how to start, here are a few tips on making them feel more comfortable.
Keeping a child in the dark is always a bad idea. If your child doesn't understand what's going on and why they need to see the dentist, they're going to be more likely to be frightened. Reassuring them beforehand and explaining what cleaning and examination is like can be helpful, but there are also things you can do while you're at the appointment.
For example, if your child hears the sound of a drill, take a moment to explain what it is to them. Reassure them that they won't need it if they're just coming in for a cleaning. Even if your child needs dental drilling later on, it usually requires a second appointment, so there's no reason to worry them about the what-ifs right now.
Another thing that often makes visiting the dentist harder for children is being alone with the dentist or hygienist. While it's normal for patients to come in and settle into their seat with just the doctors coming and going, you're an adult with a sense of safety and understanding of what's going on around you. Your child, on the other hand, may not feel the same way. Being around strangers may make them feel nervous. If they tense up, it could make the cleaning uncomfortable, and can generally leave them with a bad experience that makes them more fearful in the future. Consider going in with your child to the cleaning, just so that they know you're there.
Finally, if your child isn't visiting a pediatric dentist, they should be. Adult dentists are capable of cleaning and examining kids' teeth, of course, but it's not their specialty. Dealing with the nerves of a child, smaller mouths, and the general fidgeting and behavior of kids can be tougher on adult dentists who are mostly used to working with accommodating adults.
Children's dentists, on the other hand, primarily focus on kids and youth, ensuring that they're more comfortable and experienced with kids just like yours. This will help to ensure that your child's appointment is as comfortable and carefree as possible, and your dentist will be more likely to agree to you sitting in on the appointment, too.
For more information, contact a children's dentist near you.