The fear of going to the dentist has long been a trope used in almost every medium of popular culture, but dental anxiety is a real problem for many people. An excessive nervousness or apprehension that builds before a dental appointment is not uncommon among many Americans. Even those who do not consider themselves to…
Solve Dental Anxiety with a Kid-Friendly Dentist
Kid-friendly dentists specialize in treating children and can make a trip to the dentist less scary for a lot of children. However, some children have a healthy fear of the dentist. They require their parents and dentist to work together to help them conquer their fears.
A kid-friendly dentist can help your child deal with dental anxiety
Many school-aged children are afraid of dentists. Unfortunately, their fear of going to the dentist makes it difficult to receive the proper oral care that they need. However, their parents and a kid-friendly dentist can help them overcome their fear.
What can parents do to ease the fear?
In order to get the trip to the dentist to go smoothly, parents should do the following:
- Tell their children what to expect without going into detail: Parents should answer any questions their children might have about the trip to the dentist. But, they should save the details for the dentist, who is trained to explain things to children in a non-threatening way
- Avoid trigger words: Using words like hurt, painful or shot is the quickest way to discourage a scared child from going to the dentist. Parents should avoid using those words or similar words when trying to explain what happens during a dental examination
- Do not talk about unpleasant experiences: Parents talking about bad experiences they had at the dentist will make their child more afraid to see a dentist because they will assume that if their parents experienced pain, they will too
- Explain the importance of oral health: Most kids do not consider oral health to be important unless their parents stress the importance. Parents are encouraged to let their children know how important it is to have healthy teeth and gums and also let their children know that the kid-friendly dentist is only there to help
What can dentists do to ease the fear?
Some of the techniques dentists can use to ease a child’s fears include:
- Talking in a friendly voice: Talking in a friendly voice makes children more relaxed
- Telling stories: Telling children stories is a great way to keep them engaged and keep their minds off the procedure
- Use body language: Simple things like a smile or letting them know how brave they are can be used to reinforce positive behavior. However, frowns can be used to discourage bad behavior from kids
- Use simple words: Explaining the procedure to children in a language they will understand makes them more comfortable on the chair. Dentists can also use dolls to show children what will happen during the procedure and that they do not have anything to fear
- Sedation: In situations where the child has a hard time relaxing, sedation can be used to calm them down. Nitrous oxide or oral sedatives are the most common sedation used on kids
Kid-friendly dentists and parents need to work together to help children overcome their fear of dentists. Doing so will help the children practice good oral hygiene as adults. If you have a child that is scared of going to the dentist, schedule an appointment with a kid-friendly dentist to come up with a plan to help the child overcome their fear.
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