Fear of the dentist in children: 10 ways to avoid it

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Children and fear of the dentist: a common problem, but which can be avoided by preparing the little one for the first visits to this specialist in the best way.



Several small gestures can make something that often not even we adults like, a moment of play for the child. But how? Laura Vedani, pediatric dentist associated with Il dentista dei bambini, national network of pediatric dentists, explains it to us, and who has just published the book "FEAR OF THE DENTIST GOODBYE. The secrets to overcome the fear of the dentist once and for all and finally return to smile ".



Fear of the dentist? "It is something that can be avoided. It is enough to have the right attitude. We see them" explains Laura Vedani. "There are children of two, three years old, who come here with peace of mind. They have never had any kind of treatment, no one has ever told them anything. When they arrive, they take the visit as a game: they are calm, they open their mouths, yes they get their teeth brushed, they also get their teeth treated ".

Here are some simple and quick tips on how to behave to ensure that the dentist's appointment is taken as a game and that the child does not experience it as a trauma.

1 - Don't say "be good" or "be good". The wrong expectation is given to the child. What on earth would have to happen there to misbehave?

2 - Prepare him for the appointment as if it were something playful and absolutely normal.

3 - Dress him up in the clothes he or she likes best: in his head he will associate the dentist with a pleasant place to go.

4 - Give him some little gifts. This applies to both parents and dentists. "The parent can also promise an ice cream or a bar of chocolate after the visit, why not" explains Laura Vedani. "Dentists, on the other hand, can equip themselves with soap bubbles or colored pencils, to be given to little patients once the session is over".


5 - Take him to the dentist as soon as possible. For children who go to kindergarten, you can already think about making the first visit around the age of three. For those who go to the nursery, even a little earlier, from two and a half years old.

6 - Don't wait to take him to the dentist when he's already in pain, for example when there is a cavity and the tooth hurts.


7 - Relying on a specialist. "I always say: if your child is sick, do you take him to a general practitioner or a pediatrician? The same goes for dentists: there are specialized dentists for children, they are pediatric dentists" specifies the doctor.


8 - Avoid saying some negative words during the visit as "pain, fear, evil". And if the child is to be treated, substitute terms such as drill, needle and syringe for similar expressions but with the same meaning (anesthetics = magical drops).

9 - Do not be seen anxious and do not accompany the child "as a couple". He'll think, "Why do both mom and dad have to take me? Will it be serious?"

10 - Inform the child of the visit only a few days before, without giving too much importance to the event.

On the website of the children's dentist, some more tips for facing the first visit to the dentist

Updated on 09.04.2022


TAG:
  • children's teeth
  • first time dentist
  • 3-5 children years
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