No matter how young or old your child is, he or she can become anxious or fearful at the mere thought of a dental visit. Children aren't born with a fear of the dentist, but certain situations or experiences in their life can lead to dental anxiety. In many cases, dental anxiety in kids is caused by their parent's fear of the dentist or past experiences with a dentist.
Here are some common causes of dental anxiety in your child:
Dentists understand that many children have anxiety and fear when it comes to visiting the dentist. Many dentists provide sedation, such as nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, helps calm your child and puts them in a dream-like state. Oral conscious sedation, such as a pill, can be used on children as young as three years old.
Here are a few tips you can follow at home to ease your child's dental fear.
Choosing the right dentist can help ease a lot of your child's anxiety. You might feel that all dentists are the same, but that's not the case. A pediatric dentist has extra training specifically in working with children, making the experience much more comfortable for everyone.
Before your child begins treatment, it's a good idea to go to the office for a consultation. This will give your child the opportunity to get to know the team, see the office and meet the dentist. By taking your child to the dentist before treatment begins, you can help eliminate their fear of the unknown. During the consultation, feel free to ask the dentist any questions you have. This will help you understand what will happen during treatment.
Most kids are at least somewhat afraid of the dentist. This dental fear can be reduced by explaining to them what will happen. Don't say negative words about the dentist or your visit. Your child will take those negative feelings and apply them to you and the dentist. Using negative words also sets the stage for your child to think that going to the dentist is a bad thing. Instead, use a positive phrase. For example, "The dentist is going to clean your teeth and count them," or "The dentist is going to look at your teeth and check them for cavities." Explain the dental procedure in a comfortable, non-frightening way.
One way to make trips to the dentist less stressful for your child is to educate him or her about what will happen. Reading a book or watching a video about the dentist is a good way to prepare your child for his or her first visit, and it can also ease your child’s fears.
Before your child’s dental appointment, borrow a children’s picture book from your local library or bookstore. Read the book with your child, pausing to talk about each part of the book. You can also watch a video about the dentist with your child. As your child watches, pause the video to talk about what is happening. This can help your child feel more comfortable.
Bringing your child to the dentist at an early age can help them overcome any fear of the dentist. They can get used to the sights, sounds, and smells of the office. The sooner they get used to visiting the dentist, the sooner they’ll understand that it’s simply a routine checkup.
Unique Kids Pediatric Dentistry is equipped with the latest technologies and modern amenities that enable the best dental care facilities for patients. Call us at (832) 930-7732 and schedule an appointment with the dentist to know more about the dental services provided at the practice.