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09 / 11 / 2018

Helping Your Children Feel Good About Their Dental Visits

Our ‘Gentle Dentist’, Dentist C Tocca Offers Some Helpful Tips For Parents

There are a number of theories as to why seeing a dentist invokes such anxiety and fear in some patients.

One school of thought is that much of this relates to the fact that the dentist’s work in the oral cavity is so close to all of our major senses. We hear the drill at close quarters, we see the masked dentist looming close to our face as they examine our mouths, and we smell the antiseptic smell so familiar to anyone who has ever entered a dental practice.

As adults, most of us can see past these issues, understanding that we need to see a dentist to make sure that our teeth and gums remain healthy. With an increasing number of reports in the media about how our oral health may affect other things, such as our heart, we understand that good oral health care is important, even if we don’t actually enjoy going to the dentist.

Children

Young children do not have the capacity for logic that, as adults, we do. This means that they can build up phobias and anxieties about visiting the dentist that can be very difficult to overcome. Looking after your teeth is important though, even at a young age. Even the first teeth which will eventually fall out should be kept clean. Decay and infections of the first teeth can have an impact on the health of the adult teeth that are yet to erupt.

As well as supervising children when they brush their teeth and monitoring the number of sweets that they consume, making sure that your child sees a dentist is essential to ensure that they remain healthy. As any parent will know though, this is not always as straightforward as it seems. Children hear tales at school and, perhaps, come across ‘evil’ dentists in books and magazines, often leading to them having a real fear of what a trip to the dentist entails.

A quick ‘help’ list for parents

There are a number of ways that, as a parent, you can prepare and help your child be ready for their dental visit. These are not hard and fast rules and are adaptable, as you will know your own child’s character, but we feel that they are generally very helpful.

Bring them in their early years

If we have caught you early enough, please bring your child to see one of our Ipswich dentists at around a year old. Starting them this young will help them build up a relationship with their dentist that does not revolve around fear. You can be sure that we will greet your child with a friendly smile and help them to relax during their examination.

Mind your language

Even when we think they are not listening, children very often are. Telling a friend or neighbour about a ‘painful’ dental treatment you had will not encourage your child to want to see a dentist. Avoid words like ‘pain’ and ‘terrified’, etc. Try to discuss your own dental experiences in a more positive way. If you are an adult with your own dental anxieties, do ask us about the sedation that we offer at the Lighthouse Dental Practice.

Let them bring a friend

By friend, we mean, of course, their favourite teddy bear or doll. We are more than happy to examine teddy’s teeth before we examine your child’s. When they see that it doesn’t hurt teddy, they are more likely to feel confident about their own examination. They may also wish to hold their toy, for comfort, during the examination.

Play ‘dentists’ with them

If your child asks what will happen when they go for an examination; instead of explaining, why not play out the role with them, gently examining their teeth. A little warmth and humour added to this will help them feel more relaxed about their visit.

Keep calm and carry on

Children will pick up on our own anxieties and if you appear anxious when you enter a dental practice, it is very likely that they will too. If you do experience dental anxiety yourself, perhaps consider asking their favourite relative to take them instead.

Find a positive story book

As well as ‘scary dentists’, you will almost certainly find suitable books that contain positive dental characters. These could be read at bedtime in the weeks and days leading up to their dental visit.

Let them watch you

If you have a dental checkup due before their visit is due, we are happy for them to stay with you and watch as we examine your mouth. In many cases, a child’s expectations will be far more advanced than the reality of what really happens. If they see how comfortable you are, it will help them feel the same way. Obviously, do not bring them if you are having a tooth extracted or root canal treatment!

If all else fails.

Bribery can sometimes be an effective ‘weapon’ for a parent. Although not always a great approach, if promising to buy them a treat gets them to have regular dental care, it is probably worth it. Keeping your teeth healthy at a young age is likely to lead to better care of teeth and gums throughout their lives. We often hear patients say that they wish they had taken better care of their own teeth when they were younger, so it is only natural that you will want that for your children, however, it is achieved.

At the Lighthouse Dental Practice here in Ipswich, you will find that all of our dental team are good with children. We know the importance of healthy teeth and gums and will always do our best to encourage children to look after theirs, and, where necessary, treat any problems as gently as we possibly can.

If you have a child who hasn’t seen a dentist yet because of their anxiety and would like some advice, please call our Ipswich practice on 01473 257 379.

We are here to help you.
If you would like to speak to a member of our friendly team about any of the issues in this article please visit our contact page or call us on 01473 257379.

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“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk in the door. She is not only really thorough but also very caring and explains what she is doing throughout the ...“

Jenny

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“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantastic; she went above and beyond to assist me so that I wasn't left out of pocket. I wish everyone had a person lik...“

Dee D

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“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to the dentist. A broken tooth and my wife threatening to leave me if I did not get it replaced soon made me find a ...“

Earlmain L

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“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a tooth for a few days and was unable to get an appointment with my regular practice. I have to say the service was am...“

Ginette S

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“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my tooth removed. I was instantly put at ease by the reception staff and the dental team. They regularly stopped to check...“

Susannah B

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“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag of nerves when I arrived, but I must admit Dr Tocca was very professional and explained everything as he was going t...“

Nick K

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stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk ...“

Jenny

stars 1

“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantast...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a to...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my too...“

Susannah B

stars 1

“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag o...“

Nick K

View All Testimonials Leave Us A Review
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stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk in the door. She is not onl...“

Jenny

stars 1

“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantastic; she went above and beyond ...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to the dentist. A broken tooth ...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a tooth for a few days and was una...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my tooth removed. I was instantly pu...“

Susannah B

stars 1

“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag of nerves when I arrived, but I...“

Nick K

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