How to Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety About Visiting the Dentist
Going to the dentist should be a fun and positive experience for your child. However, for some children it can be very stressful, especially during the first dental visit. Here at Dr. Leach’s Alpharetta’s pediatric dental office, our team is fully aware that children can be a little nervous, but rest assured, we are here to help your child throughout their visit.
Dr. Leach takes pride in his team and has created a friendly, welcoming atmosphere that allows our patients, from tots to teens, to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy their experience at our pediatric dental office.
While your child will come back without you, they will never be alone. One of our team members is always with your child from the time they come back to have their teeth cleaned until the time they are reunited with you following the exam by Dr. Leach.
Throughout your child’s appointment, our highly trained hygiene and operative team will explain what is going to be done in a child-friendly way. A lot of times we will tell them and show them, so they can see that it is not going to bother them. Studies have found that show-and-tell tactics significantly reduce the anxiety that is commonly associated with young children visiting the dentist for the first time.
Our team sees firsthand the positive impact that little hands-on experiences can have for patients who are timid about their visit. Our goal is that your child is confident about coming to the dentist and about taking responsibility for maintaining the upkeep of their oral health.
Sometimes regardless of how prepared you attempt to make your child about their dental visit, some children may still feel stressed.
The top reasons that your child might feel stressed about visiting the dentist include:
– Fear of being away from parent
– Fear of having a cavity
– Fear of the unknown
While these are valid reasons, keep reassuring your child that they are brave and that the office they are going to was created with them in mind; it is practically an amusement park!
How can I help as a parent?
Parents can play a huge role in helping your child overcome their anxiety about visiting the dentist. A positive attitude about going to the dentist is always helpful. There are also other tools you can use such as reading books, watching videos, and role playing.
Who doesn’t love reading a book about their favorite character? Children especially enjoy joining their favorite characters like Dora, Clifford, and Peppa Pig on the many adventures they experience. Guess what? Dora, Clifford, and Peppa Pig all go to the dentist office to have their teeth cleaned and checked by their local dentist!
There are many books about going to the dentist which can be accessed from multiple platforms. You can invest in purchasing a book or two about your child’s favorite companion visiting the dentist or take a trip to your local library and check out as many as you want! Children love to be read to, and this can be a comforting way to reassure your little one about going to the dentist. You can find some of our staff’s favorite books in our previous blog “Top 5 Dental Books”.
Videos are another fun way to help your child with their anxiety! These can be entertaining and informative for your child and make them feel more confident and secure about going to the dentist. While these videos can be purchased, there are multiple options on YouTube that can be accessed for free. Our team loves Dudley Goes to the Dentist!
Lastly, you can role play with your child. Children love to pretend to be the dentist which is a great way to help them overcome their anxiety. Letting their imagination fly will lead to a world of positive repercussions. Have your child practice brushing the teeth of one of their stuffed animals or dolls and then count their teeth, which is similar to what will happen during their dental visit.
Once your child has their turn playing the dentist, you can tell your child that it is your turn to pretend to be the dentist! Start by counting their teeth, as this is done at their dental health checkup, and then you can brush their teeth and finish with flossing.
These are just a few ways to help your child overcome their anxiety about visiting the dentist. With a positive attitude and a whole lot of fun, your child will love going to the dentist in no time. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you can reach our team at Michael J. Leach D.D.S. Pediatric Dentistry Phone Number (770) 521-8855!
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