Addressing Dental Fears

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No! I don’t want to go!

Sound familiar? Well, your team at Must Love Kids has to admit that we may have heard this refrain before… once or twice. So let’s talk about it: sometimes kids “hate” going to the dentist.

The truth is, dentist visits can feel scary. As a pediatric dentistry, Must Love Kids is especially sensitive to our patients’ experiences because our goal isn’t only healthy teeth now– it’s to set the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth.

So what’s so scary, anyway?

What are our kids so intimidated by? Well, there are a lot of reasons.

  • Fear of the unknown. Few people feel crazy about things they don’t know about, and kids are no exception. If they’ve never been to a dental clinic before, or no one has explained the procedure to them– no wonder this strange place, filled with mysterious equipment and people, might seem a little scary!
  • Lack of control. At the dentist, we ask kids to cede control of their bodies– something they may only have recently discovered they have control over to begin with!– and trust strangers to poke around, scrape, and tap their teeth. In addition, kids can have a hard time understanding why they should put up with this– preventive care is a foreign concept!
  • Overall tension. Our kids are smart, and they know when we feel tense! Parental fear of dentists can actually affect how our kids view dentist visits as well. If there is tension or stress centered around dentist visits, kids pick up on this and learn to feel fear just like us.
  • Bad associations. Unfortunately, sometimes kids have an experience at a doctor’s office or other dental clinic that they found scary, and they learn that medical equipment and healthcare visits are something to be afraid of. But things don’t have to stay this way…

… So what can we do about it?

Must Love Kids has a trove of tools to help every kid adjust to dental care, learn about dental health, and feel comfortable seeing the dentist. In fact, most of our patients look forward to seeing us!

Here are just a few approaches that we’ve found work wonders:

1) Education

Every patient visit is a potential learning moment that will hopefully become a part of that young person’s life-long approach to dental health. Our team carefully explains procedures, answers questions, and talks to our patients about why and how we care for our teeth. We’re available by phone, email, and office drop-ins to answer any concerns that come up!

2) Preparation

New experiences are a lot easier when you know what to expect. Because of this, we encourage new patients to stop in for a brief “tour” before their actual appointment. We have a host of suggestions for parents to help set the stage for positive dental experiences, including books, online resources, and more. We also encourage early preventive dental care like brushing, so patients’ first experiences are in a safe, home environment.

3) Make it fun!

This isn’t any dentistry, it’s pediatric dentistry, and that means we love to play. Our team is willing and able to do what it takes to get each of our patients engaged and happy with their dental care– even if that means singing the entire soundtrack to Frozen six times in a visit. At Must Love Kids, we understand that creativity and fun are an essential element in the care that we provide.

Still scared?

If your child is feeling nervous or afraid about visiting the dentist, please call us and schedule a time to come and explore before the dental visit. We believe that every child deserves a strong foundation of great dental care, and we will work with you to make sure fear doesn’t get in the way!

Call to schedule an appointment with us now at our Vancouver, WA, pediatric dental clinic.

 

Photo Credit: Chris JL via Compfight cc

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