Does your child have a fear of the dentist? Studies have shown 10% of children and young people have experienced severe dental phobia. This dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias that they can experience. Dental phobia can be caused by many things, but usually, it’s because kids think that going to the dentist will hurt them and cause extreme pain. As a parent, you should never delay your child’s dental treatment or dental visits due to dental anxiety. Dental appointments are a critical component of general health and delaying dental care can have negative effects on oral health including gum disease, dental disease, and tooth decay. In this blog post, we’re going to discuss how you can help your child get over their fears and start looking forward to trips to the dental office!
Identify the cause of your child’s dental anxiety
The first step to helping your child get over their dental phobia is identifying why they are feeling this way. It’s important not to brush it off as an irrational fear. By asking and having an in-depth conversation with your child, you can allow them to feel comfortable opening up to you so you can better understand their dental fears. Only then can you start taking steps towards helping them overcome dental anxiety and feel more comfortable about visiting the dentist’s office in the future.
Talk to your dentist about your child’s dental phobia and what they can do to help
Dentists are aware that some kids have a dental phobia. They can do their best to help your child feel more comfortable by talking with them before they even step into the office, and trying to find ways for them to take part in whatever happens during their visit. If you want an all-inclusive approach, then talk with your doctor about what procedures are usually done at checkups so that there aren’t any surprises when it comes time for x-rays or other tests!
Discuss with your child what is going to happen at their visit
Even though your child might be afraid of visiting the dentist, they likely want to know what is going to happen before their visit. This can help them feel less anxious about every step so that they aren’t worried if something new will happen or not! Take some time before their appointment and discuss with them what you expect might happen, as well as how it can help keep their teeth healthy for years to come.
One way to help your child feel more comfortable about going to the dentist is by discussing with them what will happen at their visit. This is especially the case if you are visiting a new dental office or visiting for the first time. You may want to consider talking about things like:
- What the dentist’s office looks like
- Who will be there (the secretary, dental hygienist, imaging specialist, dentist, etc.) and what they will do
- What procedures might be done during the dental visit
- That it’s okay to feel scared
Research dentists who specialize in treating children
Another way to help your child feel more comfortable about their visit is by taking the time to research dentists who specialize in working with children. The right dentist will be trained in how to put kids at ease, and may have all sorts of fun gadgets or toys that they can bring out during appointments!
Helping your child overcome their dental phobia will not only let them get regular checkups throughout childhood, but also build up trust between you as parents and any dental professionals that they come into contact with.
How to help your child feel more comfortable during their appointment
If you’re looking for ways to help your child feel more comfortable during their dental appointment, then here are some ideas:
- Arrive early and take a tour of the dentist’s office so that your child knows what to expect.
- Ask the dentist if they can talk to your child before the appointment about what will happen during their visit.
- Let your child bring along a favorite toy or book to help them feel more at ease.
- If possible, try to schedule the appointment during a time when you know your child is usually in good spirits.
- Ask if you or a family member is able to accompany your child as they sit in the dental chair.
- Make sure to praise them for any bravery they show throughout the appointment!
Has your child had a bad experience in a dental setting in the past?
If your child has had a bad experience in a previous dental setting, it’s important to talk to the dentist about what happened. A good dentist should be able to offer some suggestions on how to help your little one feel more comfortable during their next visit or refer you to a specialist who can help. It’s also important for parents to provide support and understanding if their child is feeling anxious or scared about returning to the dentist’s chair. With time and patience, most children will be able to overcome their dental fear!
What if my child needs specialty dental care?
If your child has exhibited dental phobia at standard dental appointments in the past and now needs teeth pulled, dental surgery, general anesthesia, specialty dental work, or has needle phobia then you especially will want to speak to your dentist about their recommendations before the procedure. They may recommend relaxation techniques or other professional medical advice to make the process easier for everyone involved.
Southern Dental Associates: Pediatric Dental Practice
Helping children get over their fear of going to the dentist can be difficult, but it’s definitely worth it in order to have healthy teeth into adulthood! By following these tips, you should be able to help your child feel more comfortable about visiting the dentist, and keep their teeth in tip-top shape for years to come!
As a dental office that specializes in pedatric dentistry, Southern Dental Associates delivers kind, compassionate dental care to the children we see. Our team is committed to making kid’s dentistry exciting and fun for our patients, while promoting life-long dental health. Remember, never delay your child’s dental treatment or dental procedures due to fear of dentist. The long-term effects of neglecting oral health can be much worse. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us today!