How To Prevent Dental Anxiety In Children

Going to the dentist is often a trigger of anxiety for children. In fact, it’s common for children to experience stress and fear when they find out that they have to visit the dentist. While many adult patients also have this type of anxiety, the psychological stressors in children are often quite overwhelming. Perhaps, it’s always difficult getting your toddler to visit the dentist. Any child can develop dental anxiety, so do not panic. Read more to learn 6 ways to prevent dental anxiety in children.

How Can I Ease My Child’s Dental Anxiety?

There are several ways to help your child overcome dental anxiety. Positive reinforcement and empathetic attitudes are the top methods that have proved effective. Here are 6 effective ways to alleviate the anxiety level of your child and make them feel comfortable:
  • Bring Along A Comfort Item 

During each visit, take along a fidget toy for your child. This could be a blanket, a stuffed toy or a fidget toy, or any other item that could be used for comfort during the dental process.
  • Provide Your Child A Distraction

Ask your dentist if your child can listen to music during the process. If it is acceptable, ensure that you provide your child with soothing songs. Also, in the waiting room, you can let your child play games on a tablet or the video game system to ease the tension. 
  • Use Positive Reinforcement

When you tell your child that they are to undergo a major dental procedure if they do not brush their teeth, you increase their anxiety level. This can instill fear in them which may develop into their adult life. Instead, use positive reinforcement to get them to have proper oral hygiene and provide them with consistent oral care rewards at home.  You can also get your children toothbrushes that play a fun song to make brushing fun. Offering them rewards for a successful dentist trip will go a long way to make them look forward to their next visit.
  • Be Present And Encourage Relaxation Techniques

Your presence can help ease anxiety and fear, so help your child feel secure with your presence. Also, encourage relaxation techniques by practicing deep breathing or meditation exercises with your child.  
  • Carefully Choose Your Words

Use positive language when you refer to the dentist to eliminate threats or fear associated with the term. Avoid using terms like “needle” or “pain” when speaking about their dental appointment; this is to make them feel secure. With positive words, you can still inform them of all that will be happening throughout the procedure without triggering their anxiety.
  • Avoid Delaying Going To The Dentist

While avoiding a dentist appointment may seem like the least emotionally painful thing to do, the longer your child’s teeth go without proper dental care, the more issues may develop with time. Always make your child go for each appointment to avoid future complications that may need intensive treatment. 

Book Your Child’s Appointment with Whiting Dental Arts

Dental anxiety is one of the most common challenges that adult patients and pediatric patients face. However, you are not alone! Whiting Dental Arts’ Swampscott, MA, practice has the knowledge to make your next dental visit the most comfortable it can be. Book your next appointment today!

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