There are few things that instill as much fear and anxiety in your children as a trip to the dentist, but a visit to a skilled and compassionate chldren’s dentist doesn’t have to fill them with dread. As a parent, you can prepare your children to help them feel less anxious about a dental visit.
The truth is, even adults are anxious about dental work, but there is really very little to fear about the dentist other than a fear of the unknown. With laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and numbing medicine (lidocaine) options, there’s not much pain involved with a dental procedure.
Preparing your child up for anxiety-free dentist visits can help set them up for a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits. At Sweet Tooth Children’s Dentistry in Rancho Cucamonga, California, we came up with five ways you can help ease your child’s anxiety about visiting the dentist.
1. Start early
The earlier you start with regular dentist visits, the better. You should schedule your child’s first dentist visit soon after your child gets their first tooth and no later than their first birthday. Starting with regular dental visits and good oral hygiene habits — such as brushing twice a day and limiting sugary snacks — can help your child get used to the idea that taking care of their teeth is important and dentist visits are a part of that care.
2. Set a good example
If you feel anxious, your children pick up on your anxiety. Don’t try to make them feel less scared by sharing stories about how you were anxious to visit the dentist as a kid. Keep a positive attitude and avoid scary words like “shot,” “pain,” or “fillings” to describe what they may experience during their visit.
3. Talk about it
Eliminate the fear of the unknown, or at least reduce that fear, by talking about what may happen at their dentist visit. You can even practice the dental visit at home and have fun with a pretend visit. Set up a chair, use utensils as fake dental instruments, count your child’s teeth, and so on. The more you can prepare them, the less anxious they’ll be about the visit.
4. Pick an experienced children’s dentist
The dentist should be someone with whom you and your child feel comfortable. Our staff at Sweet Tooth Children’s Dentistry, a leading children’s dental practice, is dedicated to making your child feel supported and comfortable while providing the best care in a fun environment.
5. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst
Regardless of how much you try to ease your child’s anxieties, it may not work. Your child may get fussy, cry, or refuse to even open their mouth. Bring a book, a stuffed animal, a blanket, a song on your smartphone, or some other item that can help comfort your child and help them relax. It’s important that you stay calm and remember that the staff at Sweet Tooth Children’s Dentistry has lots of experience with fussy children and can help calm your child.Back to Blog Page