Healing and Dealing with Dental Phobias

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Should You Take Your Kids to Your Dental Appointments?

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Although many parents schedule their dental check-ups for times when they don't have their children around, there is an argument that it is better to take kids with you when you see your dentist. However, you should take care to make sure that this experience is a positive one that helps children get used to the idea of dental treatment and being at the dental clinic.

Seeing Your Check-ups Can Be a Positive Experience

There are times when your kids may benefit from coming along to your dentist's appointment with you, especially if they aren't old enough to be visiting the dentist themselves yet. Going along to your check-ups helps younger children get used to the dentist's surgery and imprints the idea in their heads that dental visits are a normal part of everyday life.

Children can also get used to the idea that your dentist wants to look at your teeth and that this isn't a big deal to you. This may make it less of a big deal to them when they start visiting the dentist themselves and have to open their mouths for a check-up. If children have never seen a dentist at work, the idea of a stranger looking into their mouths may be a little frightening for them.

You may also find that your routine visits help older kids who may have become a little anxious about visiting the dentist. If you treat your check-ups as a normal part of your life and get along with your family dentist, they may feel more comfortable about their own appointments.

Avoid Introducing Kids to Potentially Negative Experiences

Although accompanying you for a routine visit may be a positive experience, there may be times when it is better not to take your kids to the dentist with you. For example, children may freak out slightly if you're having some dental work done. The noise of a drill, the sight of an injection or any visible blood may worry younger kids in particular, especially if they don't understand what is happening.

Children are also adept at reading their parents' body language. If you wince when you have an injection or stiffen slightly in the chair when your dentist hits a sore spot, your child may worry that the dentist is hurting you or that you are scared. This may make some kids feel negatively about visiting the dentist in the future.  

Tip: It's probably best not to take your kids to the dentist with you if you are very anxious about dental treatment or have a severe phobia. Again, children may pick up on your fears and start to feel negatively about their own check-ups.