There’s nothing that is likely to break your heart more as a parent than seeing your child suffering in any way, right? And dental anxiety is one of the phenomenon.
While your kids probably aren’t aware of the word “anxiety” and how it feels, but you as a parent certainly do know that anxiety is something that can put a large amount of pressure on them.
While some of the children enjoy being at dentist, we all know, that it can be a trying time for parents as well as children alike.
I mean just imagine the experience through your own eyes of a young child having to face fear and anxiety; no wonder it can be terrifying!
That’s why we’ll be covering all the related details about how children feel the emotion of anxiety during a dental treatment as well as how the entire team are equipped to calm your child’s anxiety as well as fears in the dental chair.
1. Have a Conversation With Your Child
The effectiveness of this tip obviously depends largely on the age of your child as well as their ability to carry on a two-way conversation with you.
Now that being said, if your child is old enough to have the basic conversation with you about their dental visit, you should take the opportunity to talk with them and answer to all the queries they have.
Here are a few things that are important to mention:
- Let them know that they are going for the dental visit and tell them what a dental expert usually does in a positive way (something like you know, your dentist will make sure that your teeth are strong)
- Let them know you’re going to be with them and will be staying with them throughout the time
- Show them the pictures of dentist they are seeing, as well as the office so they know exactly what to expect
Pediatric Dentistry Gallery (With Adorable Little Patients!)
2. Choose a Pediatric Dentist
The most important step is to choose great general as well as family dental practices out there and you may already have a dentist your child loves.
If so, that’s great!
So, what’s the difference between a general dentist and a pediatric dentist?
If you’re in a hurry, here are some of the highlights clearly differentiating between a general dentist and the pediatric dentist:
- Pediatric dentists have an additional 2-3 years training that is specifically designed to help them give children better dental care.
- Because they treat only children, they have more experience with kids. This isn’t a knock on a family dentist, it’s simply a fact.
- Pediatric dental offices are designed to be “less stuffy” and more fun to ensure kids stay entertained and have a great time. It’s like a playground meets a dental office!
- They use smaller and more kid-friendly dental tools that are less intimidating.
- Having extensive knowledge when it comes to preventative care for children, which can set the foundation for healthy dental habits for life.
- They are better equipped to provide optimal care for children with severe dental anxiety and special needs.
There you have it…several great reasons to select a pediatric dentist for your child!
3: Lie to Your Kids (Yes!)
Half joking here, but admit it you’ve lied to your kids before. You yourself may have dental anxiety or a phobia of going to the dentist or sitting in a dental chair, and it’s important that you don’t pass that along to your child.
While it’s certainly possible that some fears and phobias run in the family, it’s also likely that many phobias are learned behaviors of the child.
So, if your child is old enough and asks, “Mommy, is the dental treatment scary?” Your answer should be, “You’ve got nothing to worry about. Your dentist is going to make sure your teeth stay strong!”
4: Notify Your Pediatric Dentist When Making an Appointment
If you know that your child tends to get anxious at the dentist (or in other similar situations) it’s good to give the dental office a heads up when you schedule your appointment.
While most pediatric dentists are always friendly and kind with children, reminding them that your child is an anxious patient will ensure that your pediatric dentist goes the extra mile to keep your child calm and happy throughout the appointment.
5: Ask if Sedation is an Option
Using sedation such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is possible in certain situations. For instance, if your child is having a more complex procedure, laughing gas may be used.
If you would like to learn more about nitrous oxide, including when it may be appropriate for use when caring for your child, read the article below:
6: Use Positive Reinforcement
Pediatric dentists often use positive reinforcement.
Whenever a child responds in a positive manner, the dentist reinforces that behavior with some form of a reward (this could be a verbal praise, a high five, etc.).
Positive reinforcement demonstrates to your child that they are doing things right and they are in a comfortable place they enjoy.
Reinforcing your child’s positive behavior is extremely important and it’s something our pediatric dentists do very, very well.
If you want to see more techniques pediatric dentists use to ease your child’s dental anxiety, you can learn more from the research paper from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
7: Offer Your Child an “After Appointment Reward” for Good Behavior
Yeah that’s right, we’re telling you to bribe your kid.
Sure, this may not be the greatest parenting technique to use on a day-to-day basis, but if your child struggles with anxiety and they are able to make it through a dental visit successfully, we think that’s cause for celebration!
Obviously this doesn’t have to be anything big. We’re sure your child would love to get ice cream or get that toy they’ve been eyeing at the store for some time that you never let them get.
It doesn’t really matter what the reward is as long as your child gets something (a gift, experience, etc.) that they can look forward to. Just make sure you deliver on your promise after the appointment.
Regardless of where you are, it’s important to select a pediatric dental office that has experience caring for children with dental anxiety.
Our team of dental experts have years of experience treating children with dental anxiety and we’ve also treated countless children with a variety of special needs.
We want you and your child to know that a dental visit doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to be filled with anxiety. If you use these tips and pick the right pediatric dentist, you can turn a traumatic experience into a fun-filled day for you and your precious child.
To book your appointment, find our location nearest you and give us a call today!