Pediatric dentistry is an area of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children. Starting good dental hygiene habits early in life is important. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, more than 50% of children under the age of nine have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and…
How a Children’s Dentist Can Alleviate Dental Anxiety in Kids
If your child has dental anxiety, the good news is there are ways that a children's dentist can alleviate it. Without being addressed, it can be an issue since it will cause children not to use dental care. Children are commonly afraid of the dentist. Keep reading to see what your children’s dentist can do for you.
Giving the child information
Many children will do better by having a good idea of what is going on. The child will better tolerate the procedure when the children’s dentist tells them what to expect. Before beginning, the dentist will describe to the child what will happen. The dentist might also describe any sensations that the child will experience, such as noises.
For extremely nervous children, the dentist may demonstrate on the parent first. That way, the child can see just what will happen. This is called the “tell-show-do” procedure. That gives the child a sense of control. Plus, it allows the child to predict what will happen. One way dentists offer control is by having the child stop them at any time. That can also help build trust and communication.
Using systematic desensitization
This simply means that the dentist will expose the child to the fearful part of the dentistry slowly. At the same time, the dentist will encourage them to use relaxation strategies to reduce anxiety. For instance, a child may be afraid of injections. The dentist would show the child the syringe and explain what it does.
When the child can hold the syringe without fear, the dentist may gently move it to the mouth. Then the dentist might just hold it in place for the length of an injection. The child should use relaxation strategies to prevent anxiety. Finally, the injection can be given to the child. A parent can help by scheduling a few appointments before the procedure happens.
Reinforcing positive aspects
A children’s dentist will often have rewards on hand to incentivize being brave. That might include baseball cards, stickers, or temporary tattoos. The parent can set up a system of tokens with the dentist. The child can cash in tokens for a treat from the parent after a visit to the office.
What parents can do
The parent should work with the children’s dentist to stay involved. That includes being a role model for the child. Often, children have had poor experiences in the past. But they may also have experienced anxiety from the parents. The parent should be positive and explain everything that will happen.
Visit a children’s dentist today
A dentist will use several of the mentioned strategies to alleviate your child’s anxiety. Remember that making the visits a positive time is an important step. When your child can relax at the dentist’s office, they will be more likely to return. This will set the stage for a healthy smile. Making an appointment with a children’s dentist today is the first step toward helping your child.
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