Children and Dental Anxiety: Helping Little Ones Overcome Their Fear

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kid and doctor

Today’s the big day. You’re finally taking your child to their dentists for the very first time. However, something looks amiss. Your little one clearly isn’t looking forward to it as much as you are. They’re trembling and showing signs of fear and anxiety about the thought of having to sit on a dental chair for hours.

They don’t even have any idea what dental treatments they’re going to get – it’s their first visit after all – and yet they’re not exactly very welcoming about the idea. Why is that? Fear is a normal reaction about anything we’re unfamiliar with, especially for children.

It’s a feeling that allows us to identify potential danger, helping us stay on our toes. For kids, one of their biggest fears has a lot to do with dentist visits.

What exactly is dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety refers to any form of fear, anxiety or stress that is related to dental procedures. Whether it’s for a regular routine check or to treat any existing dental issue, when a person has apprehensions about visiting a dentist, it can cause even more significant problems.

They’ choose to delay the treatment completely, which will definitely worsen whatever dental problems they already have. A person develops dental anxiety because of a number of triggers that are highly associated with the dental setting, such as drills and needles.

When this condition escalates and turns into something more severe and irrational, then it develops from dental anxiety to dental phobia.

What exactly can parents do to help their kids?

 

Overcoming this kind of fear can be a gradual process. Children need a certain amount of predictability in their lives to lessen the amount of fears they feel, much like some adults. That’s why it’s important to let them know ahead of time when you’re finally going to your children’s dentist here in Riverton.

Never surprise them. Inform them days before your appointment to give them enough time to be prepared mentally and emotionally. If they have any questions about the treatments, answer them as truthfully as you can.

Let them know that you understand their fears, but that you’ll always be there with them throughout the process. Most importantly, let them know why it’s important to visit a dentist in the first place. Instill in their young minds the importance of taking proper care of their oral health, and they will gradually understand the situation which, in turn, will help lessen their fears.

Also, you can try teaching them some techniques for relaxation to help them on their big day. Help them learn some breathing exercises so they can stay calm while undergoing any dental treatment. If the dentist allows it, you can even bring some of your children’s favorite toys and gadgets to help them relax or stay distracted.

Try some fun music as well. Music always has an amazing effect on people, even kids.

Keep in mind, however, that bribery may not work for you in this situation. Don’t promise them any treats after a dental visit.

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