Visiting the dentist often does not feature highly on any child’s list of pleasant childhood memories. In fact, tantrums in the dentist waiting room are about as common as a cold in the winter. Dental professionals and parents alike have been struggling for years to find effective methods of getting children to relax or even enjoy their time in the dentist’s chair.
As parents, it’s natural to feel the need to ease the child’s fear. However, children dentistry in Singapore, or, more scientifically, paediatric dentistry, is a lot more complicated than that. The branch of dentistry, called paedodontics, which is recognised in most countries, focuses on treating kids from birth through to adolescence. Paediatric dentists play a dual role of both dentist and educator to children and parents – teaching children about their own oral hygiene and informing parents about dealing with issues or answering questions that their children may have on the topic. This relationship between the dentist and the patient is a significant one, as it establishes his or her future emotions and connotations with dentists and oral hygiene, while also playing a vital role in aiding the detection of early stages of tooth decay, which is essential in maintaining good habits and seeking early treatments.
Like all health habits, oral health is rooted in the early development years and for children, dentistry can either proof something that promotes clean and beautiful smile or something that evokes fear. Fear of the dentist, however, contrary to belief, should be the exception rather than the rule. These feelings are often rather brought forth by the parents’ attitudes and reaction towards the dentist, how they present it to the child and even their own body language before, during and after dentist visits. The most important thing to do is to make a genuine effort to create feelings of safety and comfort around these visits. See this page for more information about other dental services that can make you comfortable and to have a better oral health.
A few tips that will promote a pleasant visit include:
Making sure your child already has a regular dental routine that includes brushing and flossing
Choosing a dentist that they can become familiar with from an early age and that they can trust
Turning dentist visits into a fun experience that involve games, incentives etc.
Knowing beforehand what the appointment will involve and easing your child into it
Keeping yourself calm, as often a nervous parent equals a nervous child
With regards to the last tip, it is vital for the parent, although protective feelings might evoke anxiety, to remain calm and confident around children before dentist visits, even when the anxiety is based on the possibility of a screaming child in the waiting room. Children will do what you do, not what you say. Therefore, keeping it fun and nonchalant while placing your own trust in the dentist and their experience with kids, will go a long way in ensuring your child’s positive feelings towards the visits.