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How You Can Help Kids To Fight Dental Phobia

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Children, as young as four years, tend to have problems like tooth decay and cavities. They need filling, root canal treatments, and in extreme cases, one might even require tooth removal. A regular visit to the dentist can help the children maintain better dental hygiene and avoid problems later. But, going to the dentist makes even adults uncomfortable. For small children, it feels nightmarish. While visiting a doctor, children begin to throw tantrums at the sight of injection. And dentists have various tools that look sharp and dangerous. A dentist wearing his mask and bringing a pointed tool close to your mouth is an unpleasant experience that children do not want to face at all. Parents should understand that negligence is not a solution, and it could further deteriorate the situation. So, as parents, it is our responsibility to make children comfortable in front of the dentist. Here are a few tips for shooing away the dental phobia in your child.

1. Teach Children the importance of dental health:
An adult tooth, once removed, does not grow again. So, our teeth are precious. We should take good care of them. It is our responsibility to share this basic fact about our teeth with our children.
Moreover, they should understand that tooth decay could lead to chewing problems, and they cannot have their favorite food items. You should help the child with brushing and see that he/she enjoys it. You could also set a timer while brushing. Regular checkups with the dentist are necessary as they can assess better. Lessons on dental health can be in the school curriculum, or the schools can organize sessions by doctors for small children.
2. Let the child and the dentist acquaint with each other:
The child should know the dentist as a fellow human being and not as a scary masked stranger. The dentist should talk in a friendly manner and engage with the child freely. He can ask questions about school, friends, pets, etc. Simple visits to the dentist for the periodic examination can be helpful too. Your child may not consider the dentist trip as painful.

3. Take advantage of cartoons and books:
Books and cartoon shows have a better ability to demonstrate how a visit to the dentist is going to be. The dentist trip by Peppa Pig series is one such example. It can alleviate fear, and you could discuss it with the dentist to follow a similar procedure.
4. Never discuss your bitter experiences in front of children:
Children listen to us carefully when we are not talking to them. So, at home, we must not discuss toothaches and our anxieties while visiting the dentist in front of them. Also, we should not give hints like it hurts a bit when the dentist cleans, etc. You should not even say any threatening stories regarding their teeth or a dental visit. 

5. Start early and be regular:
We should not wait until problems surface for visiting a dentist. According to modern medicine, dental checks should begin by the age of one. By the age of five, dental visits become a routine for children, and they do not have any fear or hesitation. It is also necessary the visits are regular as by leaving a long gap, children might forget about the dental procedures.

6. Let the child know about an upcoming visit:
You should never hide about the appointment with the child. They prepare themselves mentally and like predictability. You are giving them a chance to express their fears, and you could convince them too. A surprise visit to the hospital might make them feel agitated unnecessarily. It becomes difficult for the doctor to examine and treat also. How could a dentist converse with a child who is already crying or irritated? So, you should never make the mistake of not letting the child know beforehand.

7. Be prepared for a visit:
Even if children are used to the dental environment, it is your responsibility to detect their anxiety and calm them down. You could teach them breathing exercises that help in avoiding sudden physical responses. It works for elderly children in the age group of 7 -12. For tiny tots, you could get their favorite toy and engage them with it while the physician examines. It is better not to promise them any treats or gifts for keeping quiet and cooperating.

8. Take Professional guidance:
Dental phobia could affect the quality of life. Children may not only resist treatments but also do not eat or communicate well. Dentists might recommend audiovisual distractions, pretend visits, and sedation techniques. You can buy a small dental mirror and ask them to count the number of teeth. Cartoons on laptops and projectors or 3D goggles can be used while the children undergo a dental procedure. Dentists go for the general anesthetic method in case the anxiety level is too high.
With advancements in technology, dental procedures have become more sophisticated. There are child-friendly hospitals which emphasize on no fear dentistry. If you are unable to handle the fear factor in your child, you should always look for experts' advice. But you should not delay the appointment or avoid it altogether. Out teeth help us eat, speak, and give shape to our faces. A good smile can make you confident too. Moreover, good oral health is closely related to the overall health of a person. Bacteria from gums could enter the bloodstream and cause clots. It might lead to blockage of blood vessels and in extreme cases, can even cause heart failure. Gum disease in pregnant women could lead to premature delivery. It is also said that people who have healthy teeth and gums are less likely to be affected by dreadful diseases like cancer, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. So, we should teach our children about oral hygiene as early as possible. We should not panic about dental phobia and take precautionary steps to prevent it from disturbing routine checkups and emergencies.
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1 comment:

  1. I wish I would gave thought of some of these earlier it would have been much easier .

    ReplyDelete

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