6. Get there.
Regular dental visits are key to making sure kids don’t fear the dentists. This isn’t just down to getting them used to the place, it’s also because if the only time they visit a dentist is when there’s something wrong, they’ll soon start to associate it with the unpleasant experiences they’ve had with their teeth. Regular six-month checkups will quickly become routine, and since these visits will nearly always involve nothing more than a brief check up, the fear factor will dissipate.
7. Don’t give up.
If your child has already developed a fear of dentists, don’t indulge this fear by caving into their protests against going for a visit. Don’t avoid making appointments because you know it will end in strife between you and your child. Try your best to develop a routine and start the process of negating the fear. The younger they are when you do this, the better the results will be. If you don’t, then they could easily carry the fear into adulthood.
8. Don’t say it might hurt.
Nothing is more guaranteed to put a kid’s fear into overdrive than telling them something might hurt in advance. There’s simply no need to say anything of the sort as it won’t do anything for the pain, of which there might not even be any! Warning your children that going to the dentist’s might be painful will do nothing but foster apprehension.
9. Reward, but don’t bribe.
Bribery is not a good way to get kids to go to the dentist, as it doesn’t do anything to address the fear they might have about the place. In fact, it could even make this fear worse, as kids will start to assume that there’s something very undesirable about going to the dentist if they need a treat to get them to go. They may not think this all through that clearly, but it will occur to them on a subconscious level and affect their behaviour accordingly.
Bribery beforehand is not ideal, but the occasional small reward after the fact won’t go astray. Steer clear of lollies and other sugary substances for obvious reasons, but a smiley face sticker, special outing or a small toy every now and then could do just fine.
10. Bask in your success
There’s no perfect solution for helping a child overcome a fear, but with a bit of work and a touch of sneakiness you could go a long way to ensuring that dentist visits don’t solidify in their mind as something negative. Doing so will do a lot more than just make dental appointments less stressful in the short term: it will also lead to the promotion of healthy oral habits into adulthood.