“I have been diving with sharks … Peered off skyscrapers and held snakes. I am so utterly, completely terrified of the dentist – I didn’t see one for over 25 years” – Anonymous.
Unfortunately, the fear of a dentist is very real with kids and adults alike; so very real that they have a technical term for it – Dentophobia or Odontophobia. With all the dentist jokes going around, it is possible for your child to develop a fear of dental visits. Before you come up with a scheme to spare yourself the reality of a showdown with your kid at the dentist, here are 3 tips that can help!
Make it a fun experience for your kids by conditioning their mind to see it as a good thing to visit the dentist. Play pretend as a dentist and make it super fun! Omit the drilling please; spare them the gory details since it is highly unlikely that a kid’s first visit will require any of these procedures. Reverse roles and get them to be the doc in charge!
Acquaint them with the Good Guy
A dentist is the good guy, so introduce him as one; the super cool guy who makes all the ‘sugar bugs’ disappear! If there is a Pedodontist (pediatric dentist) in your neighborhood, take your kid to him. This is a doc who knows his stuff with kids, and has been trained to work with them. Their offices are designed to be kid friendly; completely distracting your child from any fear he might have.
Do not ‘prepare’ his mind
‘It’s no big deal,’ ‘It won’t hurt,’ ‘Don’t be afraid’ are phrases that generally have the opposite effect! A visit to the dentist should be a routine affair, as normal as getting a haircut (if your kid is petrified of a haircut, this may not be an apt comparison!)
Instill in kids the need and benefits of oral hygiene in positive terms and see them breeze through their visit with the good guy, Mr. Dentist man!