How To Handle Dental Anxiety in Children
Not everyone enjoys a trip to the dentist and we have found that children are generally our most reluctant patients! Be that as it may, your child’s oral health is a priority and regular dental visits should be on every parent’s to-do lists at some point or another. Through the years, we have seen slight fear (which is normal) to extreme anxiety which is also okay but we would rather address this at a young age or it could impact your child’s dental care for the rest of their lives.
Because we want every patient (big or small) to be happy with great teeth, we at G Dental have put together a few tips and tricks to help you curb your child’s dental anxiety.
How do you spot dental anxiety in children?
• Extreme tantrums at the mention of dental visits
• A change to their normal behaviour (they could be quieter than usual)
• Sleepless nights
• Fidgeting on their way to an appointment
• Mood swings before their appointment
7 Tips for Dealing with Paediatric Dental Anxiety
1. Make up a game
A good idea is to play a game of ‘dentist, patient’ at home, where your kids can get to know the basics of what to expect at the dentist. Take turns playing the dentist and patient to make it a fun experience. Once children associate the visit with positive thoughts brought on by games, they will usually be more willing to visit us.
2. Start young
We would like to meet your child as soon as their first tooth starts to sprout. Although this may seem premature, the visit may help us to detect possible dental problems that might develop at a later stage. It will also create a sense of familiarity between your child, the dentist and the environment.
3. Figure out a way to communicate
Some children tend to overthink little things. And while an overactive imagination is great, it could very well create fear where there is none! Although it is a good idea to communicate a dentist appointment with your child beforehand – if you think it will create fear and anxiety, let them know just before the appointment, playing it off as a friendly, causal visit – which it is!
4. Answer questions wisely
Children are naturally curious and they tend to ask a lot of questions about things they are unfamiliar with. Answer them in the simplest way possible without causing fear. For example, if they would like to know what the dentist would be doing, simply say: “They will be making sure that your teeth are strong and healthy using their special toys”, instead of, “He will be cleaning your teeth and gums with dental equipment”.
5. Read to them
Through colourful pictures, easy to understand language, and a happy dental experience for the main character, your child can develop a better understanding of what to expect at the dentist and may even be excited through association.
6. Choose a family dentist
A family dentist is experienced in dealing with kids and this can also ensure that you experience the dental care before your child does.
7. Practice, practice
Taking care of your child’s teeth should be a routine that is consistently followed every day. Make sure that their teeth are brushed twice a day and flossed once a day. It is good for this to be done at a set time. You should also check their teeth to get them used to dental visits.
Contact us today to book a friendly consultation.