Regular dental visits are important for your child’s dental health and overall health. However, the fear of dentists can make an office visit very unpleasant. It is estimated that 20 percent of children suffer from dental anxiety. The good news is that there are things that you can do in order to ease your child’s anxiety.
Prepare Your Child for the Dental Visit
Many children are scared because they do not know what to expect. That is why it is a good idea to talk to your child before you take them to the dentist. You should let them know what to expect one week ahead of time. You do not want to wait until the last minute because this can worsen fears.
Choose Pediatric Dentists
All dentists are trained to work with patients of all ages. Pediatric dentists only work with patients who are under the age of 18. They complete an additional two years of training after they finish dental school. They know how to manage the fears in young patients. They can also design their office to make more kid-friendly.
Start Early and Have a Better Chance At Reducing Dental Anxiety
The earlier a youngster is taken to the dental office, the easier it will be for them to adjust to the environment. There are several benefits that can be reaped from the taking your child to the dental office early. This not only helps them get used to the environment, but it can also help catch problems early.
Help Your Youngster Relax
You can help your child’s anxiety by helping them relax. There are several things that you can do in order to help them relax. You can encourage them to take deep breaths. Deep breathing helps instantly alleviate stress. Progressive muscle relaxation is another remedy that can be used in order to ease stress in the dental office.
This is something that can be done in the chair at the office. Your youngster will need to close their eyes and slowly relax all of the tense parts of the body. Not only can progressive relaxation be done at the office, but it can also be done at home.
Most children respond well to positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement can help in several ways. It can show a youngster that the dentist’s office is not a place that they have to fear. It can also show a youngster that if they are on their best behavior while at the dentist’s office, then they can expect a reward.
You can give your youngster stickers, tattoos and baseball cards. You can also set up a token system. When your youngster gets a certain number of tokens, you can take them to get a reward.
Distracting your youngster can take their mind off of being at the dentist’s office. You can distract them with their favorite toy. You can also ask the dentist if they can bring a tablet in.
Don’t Tell That it Will Not Hurt
The pain is what scares most youngsters the most about going to the dentist’s office. Dental visits are pain-free most of the time. However, you should not tell your youngster that they will not have pain. If they happen to have pain during the exam and cleaning, then this may make them even more afraid to go to the dentist.
Don’t do a lot of Talking
It may be tempting to talk in order to calm your youngster down. However, you should let the dental professional do most of the talking. They can also help calm your youngster down.