Most adults have a strong fear of the dentist, so it stands to reason that many children would as well. However, many children are naturally fearless and this fear of the dentist is a matter of nurture versus nature. If we help our children understand what is going on, they will not be afraid of the unknown and will be much more likely to cooperate when in the dentist’s chair.
Hide Your Own Fear
Children will be able to sense what you are scared of, and if you are scared, they are much more likely to be. Even if you are scared of the dentist, you need to put on a tough face and completely change your opinion so that your child does not start to think that the dentist is a scary place. Conquering your own fear is the first place to start.
Let Your Child Be Curious
As you know, any child’s favorite question is “Why?” Well, this is the perfect time to answer it! Make the dentist a learning experience. Tell your child why you are going to the dentist. Explain what the dentist will do and why he or she will do it. Explain everything simply enough that they will understand, but in enough detail that they will not be surprised by anything.
Let this learning process continue at the dentist’s office. Let them ask questions—and let the dentist answer them. Unless your child is extremely shy, let your child interact with the dentist. The dentist will be able to give better answers, and it will allow your child to build a relationship with the dentist. If the dentist is a friend, your child will always be prepared and willing to go sit in that chair.
Obviously, the most important part of going to the dentist is the dental hygiene and care. Your child needs to already be used to taking care of their teeth by the time they go to the dentist. Help them make regular dental care a habit in their life, and they will enjoy the dentist for their entire life.