What to do when your child has dental anxiety

What to do when your child has dental anxiety

Is your child afraid of the dentist?

Fear and anxiety about the dentist can turn a child’s dentist appointment into a difficult event, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you are worried that your child has dental anxiety, you may avoid or procrastinate booking their dental appointments even though postponing your child’s oral care can lead to problems in the future. By working together with a great pediatric dentist in Saskatoon, you’ll find there are easy ways to make oral appointments fun for kids. Don’t let dental anxiety be a detriment to your child’s oral health. Here are some tips to make dental visits easy and comfortable for your child. 

Prevent dental anxiety through early oral health education 

What your child believes about the dentist shapes their experience of dental appointments. Often a child’s dental fears are based on negative popular opinions from the schoolyard or the media. You can prevent dental anxiety through early education and combat irrational dental fear with facts. Talk to your child about the importance of oral health and give them plenty of advanced notice about their upcoming appointment. Explain that the dentist is a friendly doctor who helps take care of their mouth, keeping their smiles healthy. Encourage them to express their fears, answer their questions straightforwardly without giving too many details and avoid mention of pain or needles. It is also a good idea to let your pediatric dentist know if your child has any dental anxiety so they can do their best to ensure your child feels safe and at ease during their dental visit. 

Visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be difficult or scary

When the time comes for your child’s dentist appointment, there are a few things you can do to help it go smoothly. Remember that your child’s anxiety feeds off of yours, so focus on keeping yourself calm and collected. Engage your child with pleasant conversation and bring a toy, game, or calming distraction to take the focus off of the procedure while you’re in the waiting room together. You may also choose a small comfort item that your child can keep with them while they’re in the chair. Choose a pediatric dentist in Saskatoon who knows how to build a trusting relationship with your child. A dentist who can use simple words, speak gently and kindly, and engage the child in conversation or tasks to take the focus away from the tools in the mouth can really help keep your child’s fear at bay and facilitate a positive experience of the dentist for your child. 

Reinforce and reward after each dental appointment 

When your child successfully completes a dental appointment, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate their achievement. Congratulate and praise them on their bravery. Compliment and reinforce their good behaviour with a reward they’ll come to associate with dentist visits. Talk about the experience and ask them what they liked about the dentist visit so that you can refer back to those positive memories while preparing for the next visit. 

The dentist can be fun 

Dentist appointments can be difficult for everyone when a child has dental anxiety. Dental anxiety in children can be prevented with early education about oral health and the importance of regular dental checkups. Choosing a great pediatric dentist in Saskatoon can help you transform your child’s false negative beliefs and fears about the dentist. When a child has a positive experience at the dentist and you reinforce them with rewards and positive praise after a dental checkup, your child will come to look forward to their next dental exam. Call your Saskatoon dentist at Midtown Dental today at (306) 652-8575 to book your child’s next appointment!