Going to the dentist for a routine dental check can be nerve-wracking at any age, but can be especially stressful for young children. Between the different noises and tools, many children tend to feel overwhelmed when they have to visit the dentist.
Luckily, there are few things that can help manage dental anxiety in children. Read on to learn more about how to reduce these anxiety triggers and make the dentist a better experience for your child (and yourself!).
What is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety in children is not the same as a general dislike for going to the dentist. While you may not like to visit the dentist, dental anxiety is experiencing true fear or panic over it. Even the idea of a routine dental visit can be very scary to a child who may also begin to show signs of panic before or after entering the dental office.
While dental anxiety in children is often connected with a fear of being out of control or possible pain and not understanding what’s going on, it can also be caused by a negative previous experience at the dentist. And in some cases, children may begin to show signs of dental anxiety due to their parents’ or siblings’ attitudes about the dentist. Understanding some of the common reasons for child dental anxiety is key to helping manage it.
Tips for Helping Children with Dental Anxiety
Here are a few easy steps you can take to help your child if they experience dental anxiety:
Explain The Procedure:
As previously mentioned, one of the anxiety triggers of going to be a dentist can be fear of the unknown. Children may be afraid of going to the dentist because they don’t know what’s going to happen! An easy way to mitigate this is by talking through what your child can expect from the visit a day or two before it’s scheduled. Even if it’s a routine checkup, walk them through what will happen so there won’t be any surprises.
Model a Positive Attitude:
Do you complain about going to the dentist yourself? Your words and actions can heavily influence your child’s behavior when it comes to dental anxiety. Model a positive attitude when it comes to visiting the dentist and emphasize the importance of routine dental checkups when it comes to overall health.
Do what helps make your child feel more comfortable at the dentist. Whether that means bringing a favorite stuffed animal or blanket or letting them use a tablet or listen to music, these comfort items can make all the difference to your child.
Choose a Family-Friendly Dentist:
Finally, we can’t stress the importance of finding a family dentist. A practice that specializes in family dentistry understands how to manage child dental anxiety and often takes steps to create a positive experience for children during their visit.
At Comfort Dental Care of Brookline, we offer children’s dental services for kids five years of age and older.