Strategies to Help Control Your Child’s Dental Anxiety

pediatric dentistry anxietyDental anxiety is something that affects people of all ages, including children. Your child’s dentist is not someone they should fear. Helping your child to control their dental anxiety at a young age will ensure they continue to seek dental treatment once they’re an adult. Next time your child is struggling with dental anxiety, give one of these strategies a try!

Educate Your Child

Talking to your child is a great way to help ease their anxiety. Tell them what they should expect during their visit and ensure them that none of it should hurt. Explain why seeing the dentist is so important and reassure them that the dentist is there to help keep them healthy. Remind them that even though they’re talking to you now, they can still ask the dentist questions too! Let them go to the dentist and watch you get your teeth done too to show them it’s nothing to be afraid of!

Talk to Their Dentist

It’s a good idea to speak with their dentist too before the appointment begins and tell them your child is suffering from some dental anxiety. They’ll be able to take extra time to explain what they’re doing as they do it and use a calm, soft voice with your child. Be prepared with their favorite toy or other comfort item for them to hold during the visit if the dentist is okay with it.

Positive Reinforcement

Praise your child during and after the dentist appointment and tell them what a good job they’re doing for being so brave. The staff at the dentist office should offer positive reinforcement too. In the waiting room before the appointment, encourage your child to play with toys or find another distraction so the anxiety isn’t at the forefront of their mind. If your child does exceptionally well, take them to the park or let them choose a movie to watch as a reward!

Helping your child overcome their dental anxiety isn’t something that will happen all at once. Be patient and consistent and over time, you should see some signs of improvement! In severe cases of dental anxiety, a dentist may be able to offer a light sedative or laughing gas to help ease your child’s nerves. A positive dental experience comes from the trust between the dentist and the patient. If you can, take your child to see the same dentist each time to help improve that trust over time.

To schedule your child’s pediatric dentistry appointment, contact us today at 781-318-3930.