Dental Anxiety: Helping Your Kids Deal with Their Fear of the Dentist
Fear is a normal reaction, actually an instinct of survival. It is normal to have fear especially for children. Even though kids eventually grow out of their fears as they mature, teaching them to cope with the fear while still young can be difficult. Most children are afraid of going to the dentist. This fear is known as dental phobia or anxiety. If your child has dental anxiety, below are some tips to help him cope.
Tips for easing your child’s anxiety:
Read Dental storybooks to your kids
Reading dental story books to the kids is a great way of assisting them get a positive view of going to the dentist. Alleviating the fear associated with dental visits is important in encouraging future overall health. Reading colorful illustrations and a main character with a positive dental visit experience can help in alleviating the child’s fear.
Start dental visits when they are still young
Taking your child to the dentist while they are still young helps them familiarize with the intimidating dental office. You can start taking your child to the dentist within the first six months after the first tooth appears. Scheduling your toddler for regular dental visits even though it is for quick dental checkup or a fun educational trip can help desensitize them from their fear.
Play dentist at home
The best way to communicate important lessons to kids is through play. Make them interested in the message by coming up with fun activities like role playing. Play dentist at home and illustrate how to clean and brush their teeth. This makes them comfortable during their next dental visit.
Be a role model
Lead by example. It is said that children learn a lot from watching their parents. Therefore, the most effective way of teaching your child the importance of oral hygiene is by showing them. You have to learn to overcome your dental anxiety first to avoid passing the fear to the child.
Use positive reinforcement
Your own past experiences and how you feel about the dentist now should not influence your child. Strive to make it a positive time for the kid. Avoid at all costs talking about discomfort and pain.
Visit a pediatric dentist
Pediatric dentist have specialized training with kids. They use smaller instruments and they have kid friendly offices with bright colors and toys to ease your child’s anxiety.
Nothing is working! What to do?
If nothing seems to help your child deal with their dental anxiety, laughing gas is another harmless option. Making use of an effective sedative helps your child stay calm throughout the dental procedure. Sedation dentistry is used for both children and adults. Conscious sedation helps the child remain relaxed during the procedure.
If you are worried about your child’s anxiety, schedule your next appointment with us. We have a loving, caring and child friendly environment.