It’s fair to say that there are many adults who struggle with visiting the dentist, so it’s no wonder that lots of children struggle too. The dentist has long been demonised through folklore and old films, and unfortunately, the negative stigma that this created has stuck. For this reason, this article will focus on what parents can do to break down the barriers and help their children build a stronger, happier and healthier relationship with the dentist.
What We See
Take a moment to think about your opinions of the dentist and where these opinions come from. You probably have your own concerns and went into your first appointment already expecting the worst. The problem is that we have been passing down negative dental experiences for years and years, and these stories remind us of our bodies and the narrative we follow.
Dentistry has evolved massively over the past decades; there have been new tools designed to remove discomfort from procedures and techniques developed to make everything quicker and easier to perform. But we don’t ever hear that much about this; it’s just the negative that gets through.
What Can Be Done?
First and foremost, parents need to tackle their own dental demons. If you yourself don’t have a good relationship with the dentist, how can you expect that from your child? You can work through your issues by seeing a therapist or contacting your dental Coorparoo team; this might seem like a lot to do, but the amount of negativity we subconsciously pass on to our children can be heaps.
Don’t bribe your children. The temptation to tempt kids with treats if they’re good during their checkups is high and completely understandable. However, by offering treats, you’re reinforcing the idea that dental checkups are negative and something that you deserve praise for doing.
Use positive language; you don’t have to go over the top with this and start praising how wonderful the dentist is. Instead, it can be helpful to use positive statements such as “it will be exciting and good for your health to see the dentist” or “aren’t you excited to see how your teeth are doing?” In this way, you can encourage your child to form a positive relationship with their health.
Find a dental Coorparoo team that has experience with families. You would want to feel confident and safe with your dentist and know that your dentist is going to encourage your children to have a better and more positive relationship with them. It shouldn’t be stressful to get your children to the dentist, but if it is, you need to know you’re going to be met by a cool, calm and understanding team.
Try not to stress about it. The final bit of advice is simple; if you’re stressed, your children will be too; remaining calm about the situation will make a massive difference.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.