March 3, 2023
Going to the dentist can be a stressful experience for some children. If your child experiences dental anxiety, they may feel uncomfortable or afraid of the dentist. There are ways to prepare your child for their next dental appointment so that they won’t feel anxious about their next visit. Read our guide on how to help your child deal with dental anxiety and look forward to seeing the dentist.
Why Do Children Experience Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety can come from previous experiences or not knowing what to expect. If an older sibling, parents, or friends talk about their negative dental experiences or fears, this can cause a child to develop anxiety and teach them to be scared of the dentist.
Anxiety can come from fear of dental tools, memories of painful experiences, stress towards expenses, or not having the right amount of preparation. Knowing how to deal with a child’s dental anxiety now will help them to feel more confident in visiting their family dentist in the future.
Help Your Child Cope With Dental Anxiety
Take the time to sit down with your child and explain to them what the dentist is going to do. The more positive you are when sharing the experience, the more likely your child can feel less anxious and more excited about their visit. Here are some other ways to prevent dental anxiety:
Take your child to the dentist as early as possible. It is best to schedule an appointment as soon as their baby teeth start showing. That way they can get used to the dentist at an early age and feel less anxious as they become older.
Play Dentist at Home
Role-play with your child to help them understand what it’s like to go to the dentist. You can start by pretending to be their dentist and using a toothbrush to clean their teeth. Then switch roles and let them pretend to be your dentist. You can also use dolls or stuffed animals as patients, making this a fun activity for your child.
Bring Their Favorite Stuffed Animal
Your child’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket can help them to feel more comfortable and safe when trying something new.
Read Stories About Going to the Dentist
Books are a great way to prepare your child for a visit to the dentist. Reading about the dentist can help your child relate to the characters in the stories and look forward to the experience.
Listen to Your Child
Encourage your child to ask questions. You can take this time to reassure them and share your own positive experiences. It is important that you are honest. There is no need to go into too much detail, but the best approach is to explain the reason for the procedure and benefits that can come from their upcoming appointment.
Share the Benefits
Focus on the benefits of going to the dentist. Tell your child that they can have a beautiful, healthy smile when they consistently visit the dentist and take care of their teeth. Praise and reward your child for being good during their visit. This can help them to see the dentist as a positive experience and how to develop good oral care habits.
Find the Right Children’s Dentist in Utah
At Cottonwood Family Dental in Murray, we offer dental care services for the entire family. We understand that the dentist’s office can be scary for children, so we do all we can to help them have a positive experience. Here are a few ways that we help our young patients to feel less anxious during their visit:
- Provide headphones to listen to their favorite tunes or watch Netflix.
- Help them to relax with a cozy blanket, eye mask, and scented face towel after the visit is over.
- Never force them to receive treatment if they are too nervous or uncomfortable.
- We let your child sign our No Cavity Wall when they have a cavity-free visit. Celebrating dental health can motivate and encourage them to continue taking care of their teeth.
Most members of our team have kids of their own, so we know how to help your child to have a positive experience.
Cottonwood Family Dental Services for Children
Before we provide your child with a specific treatment, we take the time to explain what we are doing and why preventive care is important. We love teaching little ones how to avoid cavities and keep their teeth clean. Here are some of the main services we offer our young patients:
- Fluoride Treatment
- Teeth Cleaning
- Tooth colored fillings
- And more!