Tips to Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist

Tips to Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist

Posted by Dr. Pedram Malek on Jan 8 2023, 09:07 PM

Tips to Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist

Dental anxiety affects millions of children and adults in the United States. However, studies show that children who receive early dental care have fewer cavities and less dental anxiety than adults. Here are a few tips that help ease your child's dental anxiety.

Tell your child what to expect.

It can be scary for kids to visit the dentist, especially if they've had a negative or traumatic experience in the past. By explaining what will happen during your child's appointment, you can help them feel more relaxed about visiting the dentist's office.

  • First, explain to your child exactly what will happen during their visit and what types of procedures will be performed. For instance, they might need teeth cleaning or a cavity filling. You can also go over the sounds and sensations that they may hear and experience as a dentist inspects their mouth. This helps them anticipate what's happening and feel more relaxed during the procedure.
  • Bringing your child with you to your appointments also helps familiarize them with the environment. The sights and sounds won't seem as foreign to them if they've already seen it in person. Plus, it's a great way for them to get used to the idea of having their teeth cleaned and examined by a professional. This can help them feel less anxious and more at ease with the idea later on.

Reassure your child

Many children experience some anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist, but there are many ways you can help to ease their nerves. Here are a few ways you can make visiting the dentist a more positive experience for your little one.

  • Always take the time to answer your child's questions. The more they know about what is going to happen during a visit, the more comfortable they will be with the process. Answer all questions honestly, and in a language, they understand as best you can.
  • Watch a video with your child about the different steps of the dentist's office to help them become more comfortable with the idea of visiting a dentist. Seeing other kids in the video who appear happy and relaxed at the dentist's office could also help to ease your child's fears.

Reward the dental visit

Reward good behavior in the waiting room with a special treat after an appointment is concluded. This will help them associate dentist visits with something positive instead of something to fear. Plus, it will help them to feel more at ease the next time they have to go for a checkup.

Ask for dental sedation if needed

Remember that there are different levels of sedation dentistry available depending on how anxious your child is. For minimal nervousness or fear, nitrous oxide could be the answer. For more significant levels of anxiety, IV sedation is a safe and reliable option for your child. Speak with your dentist to see which one might be best for your situation.

Avoid negative words

When talking to your child about their first visit to the dentist, try to avoid using words like "pain" or "hurt" when describing the procedure. These terms can evoke feelings of fear in a child about to go see the dentist for the first time. Instead, use phrases like "the dentist will clean your teeth and make them stronger." You can also explain that the dentist is a friend that keeps everyone's mouth healthy. Focus on reassuring your child that the dentist will help them feel much better when they leave the office after their appointment.

If you have concerns about dental health or wish to learn more tips to improve your oral health, visit Elan Dental or call us at (919) 556-6761 and schedule an appointment.

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