How To Deal With Your Child’s Dental Anxiety

child refusing to open mouth at dental office due to dental anxiety

How To Deal With Your Child’s Dental Anxiety

More than 75 percent of individuals experience some form of fear when visiting the dentist, (adults included) so it’ s no wonder many kids have dental anxiety too. Some people feel no control at the dentist or feel like they can’t protect or help themselves, which makes them unnecessarily anxious. In children, such fears are amplified because they have an inherent fear of the unknown; they don’t have much experience to draw on when visiting the dentist, and their very few visits in previous years don’t benefit them as much as the lifetime of routine dental visits that adults have to draw on.  Here are some tips to reduce dental anxiety in children.

Keep Your Own Dental Fears Quiet

Some surprising research published in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry showed that dental anxiety can be passed down from parents to children who are between the ages of 7 –  12. When parents are nervous, that negative energy can be immediately and significantly transferred to their young children. Try to keep quiet about your own dental fears or have a non-anxious friend or grandparent take the child to their dental appointments. However, if you can demonstrate a confident, self-assured attitude about it, you’re the best person to take your child to the dentist. The presence of a parent is comforting to any child, especially one with dental anxiety.

Get Your Child Ready Before He Steps Into The Dentist’s Office

Be straightforward and honest about what will transpire during a dentist appointment, such as: “The dentist will sit you down in a chair and will use a mirror to view your teeth and make sure they are healthy.”

Giving children the right information can make a big difference. It’s crucial to give the children a positive, realistic short explanation. You can also ask your dentist to offer the explanation. A dentist can explain the procedure to the adult or child in the right terms or in fun terms, and with the right amount of detail depending on the anxiety level, before any procedure.

A dentist should also tell the child that he will be asking how the child is doing throughout the procedure. It is important that the child knows that they will be checked on throughout the procedure. If necessary, explain to your child that the dentist will check up on him throughout the procedure to make sure everything is fine.

Make Going To The Dentist A Positive Experience

If your child already has a fear of the dentist, it will typically take a lot of positive experiences to replace a single negative experience. Distraction can be a smart trick for managing anxiety – from your child just chatting with the dentist, having a television in the ceiling so your child can watch TV during their appointment,  to thinking about something more pleasant, such as a trip to Disney World. Some pediatric dentist offices now have TVs mounted on the wall, and children can pick which program or movie they want to watch during the procedure.

Find the Perfect Dentist For Your Child’s Needs

If your child is going to a dentist where he’s continually afraid, then you might want to try another dental office. Some pediatric dental offices are more pleasant than others.

For severe anxiety, ask the dentist about laughing gas or general anesthesia. Your child might be more comfortable that way. He might even look forward to an unusual experience like that.

At Bowmanville Dental, your comfort is our focus.  We treat many families with dental anxiety and would be honoured to help you too.  Our office offers TV’s in every treatment room, both on the wall and in the ceiling.  We use fun interaction with your kids to make them comfortable.  We also offer laughing gas or general anesthesia for anyone with severe dental anxiety.  Call us today to talk about your needs. (905) 697-9799.

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