If you’re looking to take your children to a dentist in Manchester (or anywhere else for that matter), you may wish to consider the following tips, in order to keep them from being afraid. Statistics show that 1 in 5 people are afraid of going to the dentist, but fear not – there is really no reason for your kids to be as worried as you may be…
1. Explain the importance of oral hygiene
Early checkups at the dentist help prevent cavities and tooth decay, which can lead to pain, trouble concentrating and other medical issues for your child. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly and smile with confidence.
2. Introduce them to the office or surgery prior to the appointment
It may be beneficial to take your child to the dentist office a few times before they even have an appointment. Familiarising them with the sounds, smells and sights of the dentist will make it less of a shock for when they do actually need to see a dentist (even if you’re just visiting the waiting room or reception area).
3. Make regular visits
This will let them get used to the noises, smells and surroundings and prepare them for future visits. The earlier these visits begin, the more relaxed the child will be. If you take your child to the dentist every six months (the recommended amount) then your child will get used to going, and the visits won’t be so much of a shock.
4. Explain in terms that they will understand
Introducing the idea of the tooth fairy may be a good idea. Children respond well to storytelling, as it subtly teaches them more about the world, and is a non-threatening way of educating about good oral hygiene. The tooth fairy also makes the concept of teeth falling out less scary!
5. Play dentist at home
In order to familiarise your child with the technicalities of a dentist visit, you may wish to role play dentists at home. All you need is a toothbrush, a chair and a mirror! Demonstrate gently on your child first, and then let them play dentist on you! Explain that dentists count your teeth and take a look at how nice your smile is!
6. Don’t express your own fears
If you have any fears of your own about going to the dentist, do not discuss them in front of your child. Let them form their own opinion of the dentist; don’t let them be influenced by your own entrenched anxieties.
7. Avoid scary words
“Don’t use the ‘S’ (shot),’H’ (hurt) or ‘P’ (pain) words with children. Let the staff introduce their own vocabulary to children to help them get through difficult situations,” Dr. Berg suggests.
You may wish to consider telling your child that the dentist is looking for ‘sugar bugs’ or ‘sweetie bugs’ so he can clean them off their teeth.
“My favourite thing to have parents tell their child is that we are going to check their smile and count their teeth — that’s it, nothing else,” says Michael J. Hanna, a paediatric dentist.