Although dental visits are important for ensuring good oral health, some children report finding strange noises, people, and equipment at the dental office contributes to fear or anxiety about visiting the dentist. In this post, our Winnipeg dentists share some tips for dealing with dental anxiety in children.
Signs your child is scared of the dentist - and what you can do about it!
When your child is afraid of going to the dentist, it can be difficult for them to see beyond their fear. Depending on the severity, your child may exhibit both emotional and physical symptoms: bombarding you with questions leading up to the visit, suddenly feeling sick or sweaty, crying, complaining, or even throwing temper tantrums are all signs of a nervous child.
Fortunately, it is normal for children to have this fear. Many of our fears form in childhood, and one oft-reported phobia is a fear of dentists or dental treatment.
There are a number of steps willing dentists can take to help children with a fear of dental visits feel more relaxed. Although your child may pick up some of your fear about the dentist, you can also play an important role in shifting their perspective by following these tips:
Start at home
Kids like being able to predict what’s going to happen next. With this in mind, you can discuss what to expect at the dentist shortly before their first appointment.
- Give simple, concise answers to their questions. Explain that the dentist is a friendly doctor who will count their teeth and make sure they’re strong and healthy.
- Avoid telling them about your own fear or painful experiences. They don’t need to learn about wisdom teeth removal, root canals, and other procedures yet.
- Avoid using words such as “shot”, “painful”, or “hurt”. The dreaded S.P.H. trifecta reinforces dental anxiety for nervous kids.
Your dentist's role
Your dentist can be an ally in easing children’s dental anxiety. At Toddlers To Teens, we focus on making every visit more fun and reducing stress for children by:
- Focusing on prevention. We aim to avert any oral health issues before they happen to ensure your child’s teeth and gums remain healthy.
- Creating a positive dental environment. A friendly team and fun games to play make all the difference and provide a distraction from nerves.
- Developing tailored treatment plans. Every child has unique needs that necessitate a customized dental treatment plan based on their growth and development. Depending on your child's needs, we employ a variety of approaches.