Is your child afraid of the dentist?

For many people, a trip to the dentist can be a nightmare. If adults would just keep their own fears to themselves, it might be all right, but through their words and actions they actually wind up sharing much of their own fear with children, thus prompting children to be afraid.

Children who react negatively to dentists or who have great fears when it comes to getting their teeth checked at regular appointments generally hold onto these fears through adulthood. But what is the real root of these negative attitudes towards dentists in youngsters, and how can they be overcome?

Mothers and fathers need to act sensitively

Every child has some fears, of course, but it is not right to boost these fears through careless talk. Mothers and fathers need to avoid saying things that confirm the fears held by their child, and therefore they really need to behave sensitively when it comes to dentists. For many children, the root of their fears lies in things they have heard their parents say. One prime example would be a careless warning such as: “Don’t be naughty, or I’ll take you to the dentist.”

Another important factor is a family’s choice of dentist. When parents experience a trip to a dentist they did not like, they need to be aware that talking about it can affect their children negatively. Parents need to be careful not to relate negative experiences to their children.

Bringing your child to a dentist who you trust, and whose surgery you have visited beforehand with him or her, will help you make the right choice and will also help prevent unnecessary fears. An office filled with fun toys and pastel colors can do a lot to help encourage a hesitant child.

Therefore, adults really do have a lot of responsibility when it comes to helping children overcome their fears in this area. It is also very important for the dentist himself — or herself — to display positive behavior towards the child during the appointment, making the appointment as relaxed and enjoyable as possible.

Children should be brought in for appointments often

Children need to see a dentist for checkups from one year old onwards. This is also a very good way of ensuring that they become accustomed to the habit, and not harbor too many fears. Parents should remember that frequent checkups are also the best way to prevent serious dental problems from occurring. Another easy and fun way to make sure children overcome fears related to dentists is to always choose the brightest and most entertaining toothbrushes and toothpastes possible.

Çağdaş Kışlıoğlu / Dentist

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