How to Help Your Kids with Dental Anxiety
At Gentle Breeze Family Dentistry, we deliver gentle dental care with a gentle touch. This applies to all of our patients but most especially to our youngest patients. We understand that dental anxiety is a real struggle for children and adults alike. For this reason, we like to work with parents to help put their kids at ease concerning their dental visit. We aim to boost your child’s confidence and help them see the value of preventive dental care. Here are some tips on how to assist your children with their dental anxiety.
- Understand That Information Is Key
- Be Patient & Positive
- Encourage At-Home Oral Hygiene
- Incorporate Relaxation Techniques
Like all of us, children are afraid of the unknown. Dental anxiety can arise from visiting a dentist for the first time. Firstly, walk your child through what they can expect at their appointment. Let them know you have a lifetime of experience visiting a dentist and it’s helped you maintain your beautiful smile! Children will appreciate the information and knowing what to expect. Additionally, it’s critical we see your child on a regular basis. Kids are more likely to experience dental anxiety if they haven’t been to the dentist in a while. Visiting us every six months for a cleaning and checkup will allow them to become familiar with us and normal dental procedures.
Above all, a successful dental visit requires patience from every adult involved. We take our time helping children feel comfortable in our office. Before beginning any procedure, we show young patients our tools and explain to them what we will be doing, all while ensuring their safety and comfort. For your part, avoid scolding your child for being afraid. Only speak to your child in a kind and compassionate manner to help them feel brave. Praise them when they do demonstrate courage during their appointment, and reward them with a small (non-sugary) prize after their visit. Even if it’s just a little extra time on the playground, a sticker, or a special outing, they’ll begin to develop a positive association with the dentist.
Encourage your child to keep up with their daily oral hygiene at home. Brush their teeth twice daily for two minutes each time and floss between their teeth until they have enough coordination to do so independently (usually around age five or six). Consider implementing a non-sugary reward system and even investing in an electric toothbrush for kids. Moreover, set a good example of preventive oral care for your children by keeping up with your own preventive oral care. Explain to them that properly caring for teeth includes cleaning them at home and going to the dentist. Over time, practicing dental care at home and coming in for dental checkups will feel routine and less anxiety-inducing for your child.
We also recommend relaxation techniques to soothe anxiety. Reminding your child to take deep breaths leading up to a dental visit can help them calm down. Establishing positive rituals around dentist appointments is also effective. For example, take a walk with your child beforehand, read a book with them while in the waiting room, and provide lots of hugs and affirmation before, during, and after.
Schedule Your Child’s Next Checkup!
Ask a member of our friendly team if you have other questions about how to help your child with their dental anxiety. We want to help your child overcome their fears, and instead feel happy about their visit. Don’t put off your child’s checkup and cause their dental health to suffer. Contact us today to schedule their next appointment!Contact Us