Dental anxiety is not just a problem among children because I know of a handful of grown adults who can’t stand the sight of a dentist. There are very many children and adults who are scared of going to the dentist because of anxiety and fear of the dentists tools of trade. So prevalent is the dental anxiety among children that close to 20% of all children in America are scared of dentists. This presents a challenge to medical practitioners and parents when it comes to treating these children. Dental anxiety is not only problematic to the dentists but interferes with the quality of dental care that the children get. Overcoming dental anxiety might take time but here are important tips for managing pediatric dental anxiety
Introduce your children at an early age
One of the main reasons why children end up fearing dentists is because they are introduced to dentists very late. The lack of prior exposure makes the dental office environment look strange and this gives the child anxiety problems. As a parent, it is advisable to ensure that you schedule a dental appointment for your child ideal before he/she is one. This way they will get used to the environment as they grow and will overcome any fears in no time.
As much as children take the larger chunk of the blame when it comes to dental anxiety, dentists and their nurses play a very important role in either helping the children overcome their fears or fuelling their anxiety even more. A good dentist should be able to calm a child down and use his professional prowess to help the child overcome his/her fears. It is therefore important to ensure that your family dentist is able to handle children with care and make them fall in love with dental visits.
Lead by example
Want your child to fall in love with the dentist and overcome his or her anxiety? Well, you will have to lead by example. By this I mean that you will need to show commitment and love towards dental health and be enthusiastic about dental visits yourself. There is no way you can expect your child to overcome dental anxiety if you yourself dread going for the checkups. Always attend your checkups and if possible tag your child along and this way his or her anxiety levels will eventually reduce.
Make the visits regular
The other reason why children end up fearing dental visits is because parents make them believe that dental visits are meant for injections and uprooting of teeth. As a parent, it is important to set time aside and take your child to the dentist even if their teeth are in perfect shape. Use the opportunity to show your child around the dental office and give him or her the impression that dental visits are not necessarily about injections and drilling of teeth. This way, they will easily overcome their fears.
Bonding sessions with dentists
As earlier on mentioned, the dentist plays a vital role in determining whether the patient will dread subsequent visits to the office or not. To ensure that your children are comfortable around the family dentist, take them to the office when the dentist is not busy and let the two bond. Dentists will readily welcome the idea of bonding with children just to make them feel at home in the office.
Read books about dentists
From an early age, start reading books to your children about dentists and give them the impression that dentists are good people who help us avoid diseases. There are numerous picture books that are ideal for demonstrating this to children and as a parent you should take advantage of the same to make your child more comfortable around the dentist.
Explain to the children why dentists are important
The moment you make children appreciate the significance of a dentist in society, you will have helped him take a huge step towards overcoming dental anxiety. Always explain to the children why dental visits are important and be honest about what to expect in a dental office. Lying to your children to get them to attend dental appointments will only make them hate the dentist even more. Be clear and honest with your children.
Distract your children if the anxiety levels are too high
Use toys and other incentives to distract the child when making dental visits. Sometimes, the only way through which a child can stand a dental visit is if you distract him or her. There are numerous props and toys that nurses use to achieve this.
If you are in Houston and are looking for an ideal family dentist who will help your children overcome pediatric dental anxiety, then look no further than Vita Dental. Dr. Jisoo Shin, DDS is a highly experienced pediatric dentist who knows how to handle children and will help them overcome their anxiety. Contact us today or visit our offices for more information on overcoming dental anxiety.