Some children may be scared of the dentist because they have had a bad experience in the past. Others may be scared because they don’t know what to expect. Either way, working with your child to help them overcome their fear is important. Below are some tips to help ease a child’s fear of dentists.
Talk to Them About It
Parents should tell their children about an upcoming dental appointment as soon as possible. This will give the child time to process their anxiety and figure out how to deal with it. Never surprise or scare them about dentists; they’ll react even more afraid and intimidated when it comes.
Make sure your child(ren) knows it’s perfectly fine to ask questions and be curious about what will happen at the dentist. It’s also vital for them to know that the dentist is there to help, not hurt, and they should feel comfortable speaking up if they feel any pain or discomfort.
If your child is anxious about a particular procedure, call the dentist’s office in advance and ask for a detailed description of what will occur. This will help your child feel more prepared and less scared.
You can also narrate your personal experiences with dentists. Let them know you felt as they did, but it was fine once the appointment was through.
Choose a Child-Friendly One
Dentists are a dime a dozen; that’s why It’s important to find one your child is okay with and has experience in pediatric dentistry—especially if your child has dental anxiety. But sometimes, it’s also about finding a dentist who is a good fit for your family.
The environment in which a child has their dental appointment can affect how anxious they feel. It may trigger anxiety if the office is noisy or they can see or hear other patients while getting their appointment. Something as small as the sound of dental instruments can be enough to cause anxiety in some children.
Despite finding a dentist who is experienced with kids, it does not guarantee they will be the best fit for your child. If a child has bad experiences with certain dentists involving a painful procedure or traumatic cleaning, it might trigger anxiety when they see that dentist again. In this case, finding a new dental practice that can offer treatment options to help ease your child’s anxiety would be best.
Make the Visits Regular
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children have their first dental visit after their first pearly white appears or by their first birthday—whichever milestone comes first. Early visits to the dentist establish a baseline for a child’s oral health and make it more likely that the dentist will be able to detect problems before they become serious.
Starting regular dental visits at an early age also teaches children that the dentist is a regular part of their life. This can make dental visits less anxiety-inducing for children, as they will see them as a normal, routine part of life.
Book your appointment with child-friendly dentists in Alexandria at Galleria Dental today! We treat patients of all ages with cosmetic, pediatric, and even restorative dentistry services. Our operating hours are on our website for your convenience!