You notice with bittersweet excitement that your child’s first baby tooth has started to wiggle back and forth. But to your surprise, the thought of losing a tooth terrifies your child. Or maybe she has already lost one tooth, and subsequent loose teeth cause her to totally freak out. Either way, her fear puts you at a loss. The tooth is going to come out no matter what. So how do you make the whole process less traumatic for your child?
At Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, we know that kids have minds of their own. And that’s why we love working with them! We understand that children have reasons for their fears, and we work hard to put both our young patients and their parents at ease. We are also happy to help guide parents in making dental care and dentistry as easy as possible.
If you are looking for a great pediatric dentist who truly understands children, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.
#1: Validate Their Concerns
When a child expresses his fear, it’s easy to be dismissive. We rattle off phrases like, “It’s ok” or “There’s nothing to worry about.” But think about it from a kid’s perspective. A part of his body is suddenly gone. It undermines his sense of permanence and security.
Instead of dismissing your child’s worries, validate them. “I know it can feel scary when you lose a tooth. It’s normal for teeth to come out. I’m here to give you a hug when you feel nervous.”
#2: Explain the Process
Along with validation, outline the science behind tooth loss. Explain that baby teeth serve as placeholders for adult teeth. The baby teeth have to come out to make room for the big, strong adult teeth that are just waiting to come in!
#3: Use Mindfulness Practices
When your child is feeling scared, ask her to notice where she feels fear in her body. Use deep breathing or guided imagery techniques to help calm the anxious feelings, both physically and mentally. You can find lots of guided imagery scripts, apps, and videos online.
#4: Hype Up the Tooth Fairy
A visit from the tooth fairy is the best part of losing a tooth. When you notice that your child has a loose tooth, describe the tooth fairy in detail. Let your child participate in imagining the sprite’s world and what she might do with all those teeth. Really play up the fact that the tooth fairy will leave a special surprise under his pillow.
#5: Face Your Own Fears
Kids are like sponges, and they absorb the anxieties of everyone around them, particularly their parents. Be honest in determining whether your child’s fear of losing a tooth might stem from some fear of your own. Do you suffer from dental phobia? A fear of blood? Anxiety around medical care? Working through your own anxieties will not only decrease the atmosphere of fear in your home. It will set a great example of self-care and being proactive about your mental health.
Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids Today
Another way to combat fear is to partner with a great pediatric dentist who truly empathizes with kids.
To schedule an appointment at Smiles Dentistry for Kids, contact us online. You can also call or text (913) 685-9990.