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My child refuses the dentist!  

My child refuses the dentist!  | The Dentists Blog

What can I do to make their dentist experience better? 

Dental anxiety in children is often very different from dental anxiety in adults. The difference for children is they often haven’t had traumatic experiences. They are often feeling unsure or scared, which is very natural. They are simply scared of the unknown, the noises and the unfamiliar and sterile environment.  

How bad does dental anxiety get for children? 

Generally speaking, the severity is lower than in adults. A child might be really scared and doesn’t want to go in the dental chair, but this fear is limited to the day of the appointment. Many won’t have a huge buildup of emotions for days ahead of time.  

What can I do to help my child through their dental anxiety? 

There are quite a lot of things you can do to help your child ahead of their dental appointment: 

  • Talk to your child. Be open and honest about what will happen at the appointment. Use a chopstick to point to different teeth in your child’s mouth so they know what it feels like to have a tool in their mouth. Make this a fun and relaxed moment. You could go as far as staging the whole dental appointment from entering the reception to the actual treatment, in your living room. This will give your child a sense of familiarity once they get to their appointment.
  • Decide on a signal. Talk about a sign ahead of time that means your child needs a break from the treatment or that it’s hurting. Tell the dentist about it when you get there. This will give your child a sense of control. 
  • Get to know each other. Let the child meet their dentist before doing any treatments. Organise a consultation appointment solely for the child to get to know the dentist and the environment. 
  • Read. There are plenty of child friendly books about going to the dentist, get one from your local library and read it a few times ahead of your appointment.  

If your child is particularly anxious, have a few tricks up your sleeve for when you get there: 

  1. Cuddles. Bring their favourite cuddly to hold during the appointment. Talk about it being brave like a lion and they can, too, be that brave.
  2. Meditation/calming stories. There are a lot of apps that offer meditation and stories for kids. Bring a set-up device and headphones so the child can concentrate on something other than the dentist, the noises and what they are doing. 
  3. No pressure. Give your child control over the appointment and make it fun. You could ask questions like “Oh was it me or you that sits in the chair?” or “Show me how to sit in the chair correctly, do you put your head down here?” (Point to feet part of chair). 

All in all, a dentist has the opportunity to make your child’s experience a positive one, and that should be the main goal. If the dentist can’t get to looking into the child’s mouth the first time around, that’s ok! Make another appointment, and your child will already be much more relaxed.  

For more information call us: Find the number to your nearest clinic here https://www.td.co.nz/contact/ 

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