Dental anxiety in children is one of the biggest challenges in pediatric dentistry. In fact, between the ages of 7 and 9, around 8% of children have dental fears.
Usually, these fears are due to immaturity and seeing their parents have negative dental experiences. If your child has a fear of the dentist, it’s easy to worry it will continue to affect them.
The good news is there are small steps you can take now that will eliminate their fears over time.
Keep reading to learn the best ways you can help your child cope with dental anxiety!
Visit the Dentist When Your Child Is Very Young
Exposing your child to the dentist early on can help ease any dental anxiety and fear they might have.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends children see the dentist after their first tooth comes in, but not any later than their first birthday.
This first visit is usually quick, and you’ll get a lot of feedback on things like pacifier use, thumb sucking, and the best way to ensure your child’s teeth stay cavity-free.
Kids are afraid of the dentist because it’s not something they’re familiar with. Therefore, early appointments allow your child to develop a relationship with the dentist over time. They’ll also get used to the dental instruments and the overall office setting.
Teach Your Child About the Dentist and Good Oral Health
You’ll need to establish a good oral health routine early on and talk to your child about what their teeth do and how important it is to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Make sure to discuss how a kid’s dentist or tooth doctor can help them with their teeth. It’s best to leave the details out of it and not use terms like “pain” or “shots.”
Finally, a few days before their scheduled dental visit, let them know they’re going to see the dentist. You can use this time to “play dentist” with your child by using a toothbrush and looking at their teeth.
All of this will minimize fears, and your child will eventually become less afraid of the dentist.
Find an Experienced Pediatric Dentist
When it comes to kids going to the dentist, it’s best to find an experienced pediatric dentist.
They specialize in treating young children and receive additional training in child development and psychology. Due to this, they’re able to communicate with your child more effectively.
Pediatric dental offices are also set up with kid-friendly distractions like TV shows, stories, and plenty of positive reinforcement.
Once your child associates going to the dentist with being a positive experience, they’ll ultimately lose all anxieties, and they’ll be much more likely to keep a healthy smile for the rest of their lives.
It can be overwhelming to know where to begin if you’re looking for a pediatric dentist for your child. You can check out this link for some tips on what to look for when you search Google for a pediatric dentist near me.
Easing Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist
Remember, easing your child’s fear of the dentist takes a lot of time and patience.
The more you expose them to the dentist and good oral health habits, the better they’ll start to feel, and before you know it, your child will be going to dental appointments without hesitation!
For more health and lifestyle tips, check out the rest of our blog for other inspiring articles!