Like many people, children often fear the unknown. Consequently, it's not unusual for children to experience anxiety prior to their first dental visit. There are some simple steps that you can take to help ease your child's anxiety and even help them to begin looking forward to their upcoming appointment with a pediatric dentist:
Engage In Active Role-playing
Role-playing with your child is a wonderful way of helping them to understand what they can expect during their dental check-up. By providing them with realistic information, you will be giving your child the power to overcome their fear of the unknown, and allow them to anticipate the opportunity to experience something new and exciting.
When role-playing with your child, give your child the ability to play both the role of the patient and the dentist. Begin by taking on the role of the dentist and allowing your child to play the role of the patient. This will allow you to demonstrate for your child exactly what they can expect their dentist to do during their appointment. It is important that the information you provide during this step is accurate, so if you are not entirely sure of the procedures your child's dentist will use, be sure to contact the dentist to get some much needed information before you begin to role-play with your child.
Next, switch roles and let your child be the dentist. By allowing them to perform a dental check-up on you, you will not only be showing your child that this process is not painful, but you will also allow them the ability to try and emulate you when putting on a brave face as they head off to the dentist.
Engage Your Child's Sense Of Competition
Children are often born with a competitive spirit. While some people believe that this natural sense of competition stems from a child's desire to please their parents, others believe that this need to triumph is the evolutionary result of the primal instinct to survive. Regardless of where this instinct got its roots, the fact is that you can use it to your advantage when helping your child to overcome childhood fears, such as the fear of the dentist.
In order to effectively use this method, you will need to first take your child's focus off of their fears and allow them to begin focusing on an area where they are confident. For instance, while your child may be afraid of the dentist, they may be extremely confident in their ability to brush their own teeth. You can use this confidence to your advantage by having them focus on the rewards of having superior brushing skills, such as having no cavities.
Next, challenge your child to demonstrate their superiority by offering them a tangible reward for their excellence. For example, you may wish to offer them the new toy they have been wanting if their checkup reveals no cavities. However, in order for this approach to be successful, you must carefully word your offer to ensure your child is encouraged, but also feels the need to prove themselves to you.
If you want to know more about helping your child with pediatric dentist appointments, contact a company like Covenant Family Dental Care.