Dec. 23, 2012
-- According to a new study released on November 20, 2012, parents play a key role in easing the fears children may harbor when paying a visit to the dentist office. The analysis, conducted by researchers at Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid in Spain, focused on the psychological impact of dental appointments. A parent’s approach to dentist visits results in an emotional transference to children, and this forms the basis of the child’s attitude. In other words, if a parent has fears about trips to the dentist or avoids them altogether, the child will formulate a similar opinion.
An interesting finding reported by the Madrid scientists is the different roles mothers and fathers play in transferring fear to the children. Fathers are more influential in the child developing fears about going to the dentist, while mothers tend to be more mediating. Based upon these distinct functions, the study stressed the importance of parents embracing their roles to ease children’s fears about heading to the dentist clinic.
East Harlem Dental Plaza offers suggestions on how parents can relieve anxieties. First, while a parent may have their own fears about going to the dentist, it is important that these emotions are not expressed outwardly. Comments and facial expressions are not missed by attentive young minds. In addition, fathers should take the lead in emphasizing dental hygiene, including trips to the dentist. This means pressing the child to brush and floss twice a day, and even joining them when possible.
However, the biggest impact on children’s attitudes about trips to the dentist results when a father accompanies the child and has their own teeth checked. A relaxed posture with no signs of anxiety transfers to the child and relieves the potential feeling of stress they may have. It is smart for parents to work with practices that have a pediatric dentist specialty, as they are understand the unique needs of children and make the visit less worrisome.