Whether it’s the sometimes negative portrayal of dentistry in pop culture, or the apprehension that comes with a medical examination of any type, or an understandable nervousness at the unusual sensations unique to a trip to the dentist, dental anxiety is not completely an uncommon issue in children. It’s very important for fear of the dentist to be minimized at an early age, as ongoing anxiety can lead to an avoidance of the dentist, and an endangerment of long-term dental health. Here are some tips to help your child overcome their anxieties of the dentist and to set the stage while they’re young!
Keep them Informed
Let your child know the feelings and sounds that are common to the dental experience and let that knowledge empower them. Letting them know how the cleaning paste tastes can avoid any fears resulting from the unknowns and the first’s of a checkup or cleaning.
Help them Relax
If your child looks visibly nervous or anxious in the waiting room, teach them some simple breathing exercises to help them relax. A simple deep inhalation and slow exhalation can soothe a child on the verge of being overcome with emotion.
Engage in Positive Reinforcement
Some families let their children know that after their first dental visit that they’ll be rewarded for ‘being well behaved’ with something such as a token item at the dollar store or the promise of some (sugar free) treats can help them endure any anxieties they may be feeling and the experience of this appointment.
Talk to your Dentist
Give your dentist or hygienist a heads up about your child’s feelings. They might be able to help by engaging in some interesting conversation, helping them remember a pleasant experience, or giving them a distracting task like mental arithmetic that could help push away the anxiety.
If your child seems like they’re going to a have a particularly challenging time in the dentist’s chair, talk to the staff in advance of your child’s visit. We highly encourage and recommend having your children attend your regular dental hygiene visits… This way, your child will be able to firsthand experience our Dental Team at work as well as the comfortable and friendly environment here at Pickering Square Dental. This will result in providing your child the opportunity to model your behaviour and be comforted with a seamless, pleasant and comfortable experience when it comes time for their first visits!
Using these tips will definitely help alleviate any potential dental anxiety. The best way to ensure your child is in good hands is to work with a full-service family dentistry like Pickering Square Dental. That way, you’ll know that the staff is experienced in helping children overcome any potential fear of the dentist. If you or your child requires any dental assistance, contact our team, and we’ll get everyone in the family in good dental health.