It's common for a new experience to frighten a child, especially when they come to the dentist. The office will be filled with smells and sounds that can be unnerving, which leads to becoming tense about their upcoming appointment. Thankfully, there are some ways that you can help ease the nerves of your child for their semi-annual dental checkup.

Bring a Stuffed Animal

When your child cuddles one of their favorite stuffed animals, it can cause them to feel better in the moment. It is difficult to physically be with your kid while they are in the dentist chair, so a stuffed animal is a good substitution and a cuddly friend they can hold onto. Start by asking your child what stuffed animal they want to take with them to their dentist appointment. Let them know that they will be allowed to hold onto the stuffed animal when they are feeling nervous.

Dentists are familiar with using techniques like this to help calm the nerves. They may even offer to give a teeth inspection to the stuffed animal before they do it on your child.

Teach Breathing Techniques

Another way to reduce stress is to teach your child some breathing techniques. Teach them how to take in a deep breath, then slowly let out the air through their nose. If they have their eyes shut, it can even help them use their imagination to think of things other than the dentist. Breathing techniques can help a child relax, and feel better in the stressful situation.

Breathing in a pleasing aroma, like lavender or chamomile, can help a child relax as well. You can put some on a cotton swab and rub it under their nose before they sit down in the dentist's chair.

Give Them a Reward

You can always try to offer your child some sort of reward for making it through the dentist appointment. Knowing that there will be something they want after it is all done can help them get through it. This includes getting a new toy, going to a place they like to eat, or even going to a nearby playground after the appointment. They'll be thinking about the reward during the appointment rather than what is happening to them.

For more tips on helping your nervous child, speak with a family dentist. They may have some additional ideas that will ease anxiety based on what has worked for patients in the past.