Does your child routinely experience anxiety when it comes time to visit the dentist? If so, you should know that there are many different techniques that you can use to help ease your child's anxiety without the need for medication. Taking the time to review the information below can help you to determine which of these techniques is right for your child.
Tap Into The Power Of Role Play
Many childhood fears stem from the natural fear of the unknown. As children begin to learn more about the world around them, they are able control their anxieties and embrace new experiences. Engaging your child in role play can help them to become more familiar with the dental care process, and ultimately allow them to feel in control of the situation.
When role playing with your child, be sure to take turns acting out the roles of dentist and patient. This will allow your child to learn what they should expect during their dental visit, and allow them to see your willingness to have these same procedures performed on you.
Schedule An Informative Visit With Your Dentist
Many dentists will allow you to book a consultation before committing to a traditional visit. During this type of visit, your child will be able to become familiar with the office setting, ask questions about what will happen during their appointment, and observe other children demonstrating proper behavior during their dental visit.
While it is possible for any child to benefit from this type of informative visit, this approach will often prove most beneficial when taking your child to the dentist for the first time or when changing dentists.
Explore The World Of Positive Reinforcement
For many children, the only thing more powerful than their fears is their desires. It is these desires that encourage children to continue learning new things, even when these new things exist outside of their comfort zone. Positive reinforcement can help you to tap into this power of desire by allowing your child to discover the benefits of good oral hygiene.
When using positive reinforcement to help ease your child's anxiety, try not to focus on the dental visit itself, but rather on the outcome of this visit. For instance, you may choose to offer your child a reward each time the dentist doesn't find any cavities. This approach will switch your child's focus from their fear of the dental visit to the joy they feel in the moment that the dentist declares they do not have any cavities.
It is important to remember that all children are different. Consequently, not all anxiety relieving techniques will work for all children. If you attempt one of the methods outlined above without success, do not give up. Instead, simply choose another method and try again.