Having a child freak out at the dentist's office is never fun. It makes the dentist's job harder, it slows the dentist down and makes everyone else in the room have to wait longer, and it means that you have to watch your child in obvious emotional distress. In order to make sure that all of the energy you put into setting up this appointment and getting your child to go isn't wasted, you need to figure out a way to calm your child down enough for the dentist to do his or her job. Here are some ways that you can do this.
1. Distract Them
The easiest way to get your child to calm down is to make him or her forget that he or she is in a dentist's office in the first place. This is critical because it essentially disconnects the association of danger and his or her current situation, allowing the dentist to swiftly look at your child's teeth and decide if any further actions need to be taken. Some ways that you can distract your child at the dentist's office include reading him or her a book out loud, listening to his or her favorite song, putting on a movie, or telling a story about your childhood or some other story you think that your child would enjoy.
2. Convince Them That All Sensations Feel Like Tickling
Next, if your dentist decides that your child needs to have his or her teeth professionally cleaned, you are in for another challenge. Dentist's tools make scary noises, even the benign ones such as the spinning toothbrushes. In order to get your child to remain calm during this process, you need to draw attention to the fact that he or she isn't actually in any pain during the cleaning process. The noises are just scary and he or she is feeling emotionally distressed because of it.
The physical sensation he or she feels is not pain. Ask your child a bunch of questions about how it feels like he or she is being tickled and talk about how you always laugh when you're at the dentist because the dentist keeps tickling the inside of your mouth. This will force your child to focus on the physical sensation that he or she actually feels, rather than on his or her fear.
3. Reward Them
Finally, you are going to need to reward your child for going to the dentist and remind him or her of that reward. Make sure that your child knows that he or she will not get the reward unless the dentist is able to finish the job and he or she is good while in the chair.
For more information, talk to a local dentist, like Adams Dental Center.