For parents looking to soothe any dental anxiety or remove fears of the dentist in young children, one of the best tools at your disposal is information. Helping kids understand why the dentist is important and what’s being done during their appointments may not solve every one of their issues, but it tends to go a long way toward making the process more bearable and routine for parents and children alike.
At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, we’ve helped numerous parents with these themes over the years, whether for simple dental cleanings and checkups or areas of sedation dentistry, dental X-rays and any other services your child requires. One big theme we regularly recommend here: Using proper vocabulary. Here are some basic tips we’d recommend in this area.
Even when we’re talking about younger children, you’d be surprised how well they can handle facts you thought might have gone over their head. This is especially true if you’re able to present the information in relatively simple, kid-friendly ways.
This means limiting your conversations to the most relevant pieces, not expanding them into complex discussions or tangents. Beware that for children of certain ages, you don’t necessarily have to explain every gritty detail, as they might lose interest or fail to understand. Precisely how much detail to go into will depend on your judgement as a parent.
Simply put, dental care may be uncomfortable from time to time – and trying to shield this from your child is a façade that will break down the moment they experience this sort of discomfort for the first time. Be up-front and honest with them about this simple reality before their first dental appointment, preparing them for what’s upcoming.
Now, honesty goes both ways. Simply telling kids “this will hurt” and leaving it alone is obviously a silly approach; rather, explain to them that the vast majority of their dental care will not hurt or be uncomfortable at all, and only very brief periods might be. If they’re advanced enough, you might even explain why certain things feel the way they do and the practical value being accomplished.
Throughout these processes, it’s important to use kid-friendly language. Younger children, in particular, may not quite be able to grasp the concept of how an X-ray works at the scientific level – but if you simply tell them it’s a way to take pictures of their teeth so the dentist can see them better, that’s much easier to understand. Many dental offices even offer child dental vocabulary sheets that are great resources to parents; even if you tweak some of these terms in your own special way, the theme of using simpler language to explain tougher concepts is a great one.
For more on explaining dental areas to your children using proper vocabulary, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.