Visiting the dentist is an important part of maintaining good oral health, but some children report feeling scared or anxious about going to the dentist for reasons such as the strange noises the equipment and people make at the office. Today, our Courtenay dentists share a few tips to help with your child's dental anxiety.
Signs Your Child is Afraid of the Dentist & What You Can Do
When your child is nervous, anxious, or scared about going to the dentist, it could be difficult for them to look past this fear. Your child might exhibit both physical and emotional symptoms based on their severity: peppering you with questions leading up to the visit, suddenly feeling sick or becoming sweaty, crying, complaining, or even throwing temper tantrums can all be signs of a nervous kid.
Thankfully, this fear is normal for kids to have. Lots of our fears develop in childhood, and a phobia that is often reported is a fear of dentists or dental treatment.
There are a number of steps willing dentists can take to help children with a fear of dental visits feel more relaxed. Although your child may pick up some of your fear about the dentist, you can also play an important role in shifting their perspective by following these tips:
Begin at Home
Children like having the ability to predict what will happen next. So, you can talk to your child about what they could expect at the dentist just before their first appointment.
- Give simple, concise answers to their questions. Explain that the dentist is a friendly doctor who will count their teeth and make sure they’re strong and healthy.
- Avoid telling them about your own fear or painful experiences. They don’t need to learn about wisdom teeth removal, root canals, and other procedures yet.
- Avoid using words such as “shot”, “painful”, or “hurt”. The dreaded S.P.H. trifecta reinforces dental anxiety for nervous kids.
The Role of a Dentist
Your dentist could be an ally in lessening your child's dental anxiety. At Driftwood Dental, we do our best to make each visit more fun and reduce kids stress by:
- Focusing on prevention. We aim to avert any oral health issues before they happen to ensure your child’s teeth and gums remain healthy.
- Creating a positive dental environment. A friendly team and fun games to play make all the difference and provide a distraction from nerves.
- Developing tailored treatment plans. Every child has unique requirements that need a unique dental treatment plan tailored to their growth and development. We use various approaches depending on your child's needs.
Dental Sedation Options For Children
We realize how you may feel uneasy at the thought of giving sedative drugs to children, especially as part of dental care. Often we will be asked by parents if providing children with sedatives is worth it for only a simple treatment. Is this taking it a step too far? Shouldn't they let their kids get used to visiting the dentist naturally?
There is no doubt that sedation and anesthesia should be taken very seriously. However, these procedures are safe for a child when used judiciously, and when performed by trained dentists.
Sedatives have a key part in providing kids with the important and preventive dental healthcare they need.