Do you sometimes find it incredibly challenging or just downright difficult to get your child – or children, to the dentist? It’s no secret kids pick up a lot from parents, but fear is generally not an emotion handed down by way of genetics.
Most often when kids feel fear about going to the dentist, there are triggers and obvious causes for these overwhelming emotions to take hold. Sometimes (read: most of the time) it is our fault, as parents for passing along the fear we feel about the dentist directly to our kids.
We’ve had the bad dental experience and have been subject to the less than kid-friendly hands of a back in the day dentist.
Parents of today have endured the not so ergonomic design of dental torture chairs of generations gone by. We’ve had the not so pleasurable experience of sitting through an old school root canal or getting a filling without the help of numbing gels to ease the needle prick.
We have that nostalgic first hand remembrance of dental pain, fear, and anxiety; but we need not pass down these negative experiences to our kids.
Nowadays dentists (parents & kids too) are different. Like, way different.
Dental technology has improved to the point of painless, but kids still have fear.
It’s not a matter of erasing our kid’s dental fear, it’s about reprogramming our own dental health habits then passing those valuable attributes down to our kids.
Parents need to set a positive example; not only in youth sports, nutrition, education, arts & music, and social interactions…but also in dental health!
Here are three quick and easy tactics for dealing with children’s dental fear, if our kids have dental anxiety we need to explore the triggers and causes of this misdirected dental dread.
1. Educate kids on why dental health is important – will they be more afraid of a dentist or a cavity creep?
2. Share our dental health successes with our kids – talk to them about our dental appointments, show them pictures, videos, and talk about the cool tools our awesome dentists use to fend off said cavity creeps.
3. Don’t talk bad about going to the dentist ourselves.
That last one will probably have more impact on the mindset of our kids when it comes to dental appointments than anything else. As all parents know, kids are very quick to point out our hypocrisy – don’t enable children’s dental fear by unknowingly communicating dental health negativity!