Fear is one of the basic human emotions. This is a critical signal for survival. He calls for caution, shows: “Stop! There is danger! Evil! Pain!” And now we are on our guard and can protect ourselves. Therefore, being afraid is natural and useful in some situations. But there are times when horror and anxiety become a hindrance on the path to health. Pediatric dentistry, namely the fear of the child before dental treatment and doctors, is just such a case.
Fears of the child before dental treatment
Many children (and, frankly, adults) feel uncomfortable among strange instruments, unfamiliar loud sounds. Therefore, it is extremely important to use what the English call “Show, Tell and Do Technique”. The dentist can show the child a tool. Then tell him why he is needed, what will happen now, and only then begin to act.
Inadequate preparation for the first visit and socio-cultural stereotypes.
Some people use the image of a doctor as a terrible “monster”. And the little man, who is not yet familiar with the treatment of teeth, no longer wants to see a terrible person in a white coat. Therefore, here it is best to go through preventive measures. To prevent a negative image of a physician from developing, it is worthwhile to begin scheduled visits from 3-4 years.
How can we help?
The goals of parents and doctors should be the same. You need to calm the baby and make the medical process understandable. So, it is worth telling that pediatric dentistry is not at all scary. Here, every child is examined their teeth, they check whether they grow well. Then they tell how to clean them properly and, if necessary, treat them. And then they give out ice-cream and a medal for courage. In some clinics there are even such medals, but you can also make them with the help of parents.
Do not use frightening words, focus on positive images (“check the smile” or even “catch all the candy worms”).
The next step is rehearsal with the help of fairy-tale characters, dolls, bears or transformers. Maybe watching cartoons or reading books on the topic (“Peppa Pig treats teeth”). And then we got acquainted with the clinic, interesting new things. A loyal smiling doctor, conducting a tour of the office (of course, in the presence of relatives).
Someone else’s negative experience and nervous adults
Grandmothers and grandfathers, and sometimes parents, began their acquaintance with dentistry when there was neither high-tech equipment nor high-quality anesthesia. Negative and painful experience of dental treatment in the past is very often one of the main causes of adult dentophobia. Children see and feel when adults themselves are nervous and panic at the sight of the dentist.
For example, at the reception calm, smiling baby. But at the first not even a cry, but simply – the movement of eyebrows, parents start to panic. They think that the child is already hurt. Forcing situation begins. The child looks at the reaction of the mother or father. So he also begins to form a negative opinion about dental treatment. No need to artificially teach a child to be afraid. Before starting a confrontation, make sure that the problem is for sure, and the constructive way doesn`t work.
Don’t feed your children’s fears! Even if you have to visit a psychologist or try to look into the mouth of your own anxieties. It is better to try to be the right role model or to transfer this opportunity to another close person. If a grandmother in a family has a good relationship with their own teeth and their treatment. Then it is reasonable to suggest to grandchildren, for example, to observe preventive brushing of teeth in the doctor’s office.
Objectively, if the last visit to the dentist turned into a scene from a film about Dracula, the next time the experience suggests: it can be painful. Therefore, it is important for the first time to acquaint the child with a doctor. He is professional not only in the field of dentistry, but also communication.
Do not rush the baby
Let the reception go slower or even stretch for a couple of visits. In no case should not deceive (“it will not hurt at all”). Such a lie is valid only once, leaving behind a mistrust and persistent unwillingness to listen. Moreover, you should not hold the child forcibly or intimidate. In this situation will help:
- active listening;
- recognition that excitement is, and this is normal;
- detailed explanations;
- respect for personal boundaries (“if it is unpleasant, you will give a signal and we will break”);
- sufficient pain relief.
More often, these methods remove excitement and create friendly communication with a specialist. However, there are rare cases when anxiety turns into a phobia. Then (as well as in situations of difficult and long treatment) general anesthesia becomes the way out.
Fear is normal. But you should love, respect and hear children, it is too early to acquaint them with the care of the oral cavity. Then the treatment will take place in understanding, without worries and tears. Pediatric dentistry is not scary. Trust the health of your children only to professionals.