6 Ways to Manage Dental Anxiety in Children
Do you want to ensure your child receives the best possible dental care but struggles with managing the fear or anxiety associated with visiting a dentist? You are not alone. Dental anxiety among children can be incredibly challenging and overwhelming to manage. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With the right tools, knowledge, and plan, parents can learn more about their child’s needs while still providing quality dental care.
In this blog post, we will discuss how families can tackle these difficult feelings and provide strategies specifically designed to work through childhood dental stress and phobias. Read on for more information about how you can help your child overcome teeth-related apprehension to receive essential oral healthcare.
What is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is an uneasiness, worry, or panic brought on by the anticipation of a dental appointment. Some also refer to this condition as “dental phobia” or “dental terror.” The World Health Organization recognizes odontophobia, which translates literally as “fear of the dentist” (WHO). They believe that 15 to 20% of the population suffers from dental anxiety or phobia.
Symptoms of dental anxiety can be observed in children as early as five years old and can vary in intensity. According to studies, 10% of children and adolescents suffer from severe dental fear. When visiting the dentist, a youngster with minor anxiety may feel anxious, agitated, or display other indications of stress. Children with a strong dental fear may throw tantrums or become ill to avoid dentist appointments.
Ways to Manage Dental Anxiety
1. Choose the Right Pediatric Dentist
Choosing an appropriate dentist for your child is also essential. Parents should seek a dentist who is skilled with children, particularly those with dental fear. Occasionally, though, it is about more than the dentist.
The atmosphere may also influence a child’s ability to relax during a dental appointment. Investigate their workplace. Is the workplace loud? Can youngsters observe or hear other patients during doctor’s visits? Is the office decorated with vibrant hues or soothing hues? Hearing the buzz of dental equipment may induce anxiety in many youngsters, particularly those prone to sensory difficulties.
Even if you discover a fantastic dentist with children, that only sometimes guarantees that they are the best dentist for your child. Even if a kid identifies a particular dentist with a traumatic operation or visit, they may experience fear when they see them. If you feel that your kid’s nervousness is due to a certain dentist or the setting in a certain dental office, seek out a different practice that offers treatment alternatives for dental anxiety for your child.
Finding the right pediatric dentist in Embrey Mills, VA, who works well with children, can be challenging. With Junior Smiles of Stafford, you’ve found a dental practice that goes above and beyond for even the youngest patients.
2. Read dental books to your kids.
According to studies, reading to children helps them learn about the world and develop social and emotional skills. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocates daily reading aloud to children beginning at birth to strengthen parent-child bonds and enhance language and literacy abilities.
The portion of the brain concerned with imagery, understanding, and word meaning is stimulated by reading. Consequently, reading aloud to your children can increase bonding, improve their speaking and memory abilities, and boost their confidence. Several excellent children’s books provide essential lessons to the developing mind. If you want to assist your kid in learning about a certain topic, such as toilet training, weaning off the pacifier, or visiting the dentist, you should read their books on the subject.
3. Teach the importance of great oral health.
Early childhood is a period of intense environmental effects on children. Because of this, introducing and integrating new habits and behaviors is easy. Early habits (good or harmful) have the propensity to endure. Therefore, it is prudent to take advantage of your child’s formative years and teach them lifelong beneficial habits.
Your child can comprehend you before teaching them proper oral hygiene. Little minds comprehend and process more than you realize! Consider cleaning your teeth. Instilling this behavior in your child at an early age is simple. Show them how you wash your teeth and explain why it is necessary. Including some songs and dancing is a tried-and-true method!
4. Use positive reinforcement for oral care.
Positive reinforcement in the form of praise and modest physical incentives (e.g., stickers, temporary tattoos, baseball cards) can be an effective incentive for cooperation and “brave behavior.” You might also establish a token system with the dentist, allowing the youngster to “cash in” his tokens for a small reward from you after a good office visit.
Discuss the dentist and dental appointments pleasantly and reassuringly, provide a clear explanation and be patient with your child as he confronts his dental anxieties. Dental care is essential for the development of healthy, robust teeth in children. Early dental care is more than just a need for excellent oral health and development.
5. Pretend to play a dental visit.
This is unquestionably true for both children and the dentist. Some youngsters have dental anxiety due to not knowing what will occur in the dentist.
This can be remedied by acting out a dental appointment. Have the children sit in the “chair,” count their teeth, and hold up a mirror to demonstrate a dentist’s examination. Encouraging youngsters to clean the teeth of their dolls or stuffed animals might help them become accustomed to the dental regimen.
6. Take a toy or comforting item to the dentist’s appointment.
In times of anxiety, a cherished stuffed animal or another small item can be reassuring. You may contact the dentist’s office before the appointment to discuss your child’s nervousness and request permission to bring the object. Occasionally, dentists provide youngsters with toys or plush animals that won’t get in the way of the dentist or dental hygienist.