The fear of the dark, to fly inside a plane, to spiders, to get into the pool where it ‘covers’ … and to the dentist’s chair. A fear that, like almost all other fears of childhood, actually stem from the attitude with which many parents and mothers face their own fears, and how the ‘little ones’ see them react to them.
This chain of ‘things that scare us’ is partly to blame for the bad press of dentists among the youngest: odontophobia – or what is the same, the panic to face to face with the dentist – is made one of the phobias recognized by the World Health Organization, with an incidence around 15 percent among first world patients.
A progressive growth in the list of fears in Western society, which is especially curious if we take into account the advances in the field of pain and dental treatments over the years. The origin of dental fear is linked to children’s. It is the responsibility of dentists that children are not traumatized, and that they do not drag these traumas until adulthood.
Overcoming this type of traumas is the work of professionals but also of parents: dentists, after all, are there to prevent and help children maintain a healthy mouth and dental cleaning habits that last a lifetime. Do you want to know how to take away their fear?
- It turns the visit to the dentist into a habit: if the child knows the doctors beforehand he will assume more quickly that nothing will happen.
- Small gifts and incentives, such as stickers, a chocolate bar (always washing our teeth) or small toys, may be advisable in the case of longer or more frightening treatments (such as orthodontics and fillings). Remember to always congratulate them for their courage.
- It is important to avoid expressions in which negative sensations are induced, such as ‘they will not hurt you’, ‘they will not puncture you’, ‘do not be afraid …’
- Try to make both space and the staff of the clinic are specialized in children.
- Encourage them to play ‘be dentists’ at home.
- In the same way, if several brothers attend, make the little ones spend when they treat the elders. If not, try to share peace with other children in the waiting room.