Is your child scared of the dentist? Dental anxiety is a normal reaction in children when they visit a dentist. This is understandable because it's a new environment, injections are involved, and dental materials and instruments are all over the place. Sometimes, past bad dental experiences and lack of preparation by parents can also cause a dental phobia.
So, what can you do if your little one is scared of the dentist? Here are a few tips to help your child overcome the fear of dentists.
Pediatric dentists specialize in kids' treatment, so they know how to handle them with care. They are trained to work with kids and ease the phobias of anxious children. Similarly, pediatric dentists are trained in child development and psychology, something that helps them to communicate better and more effectively with little ones. Choose a pediatric dentist that is friendly and who offers a safe environment with a comfortable space for your kid to feel confident.
As a parent, it's important to use positive language when talking about the dentist. Let your child know that the dentist intends to help them rather than harm them. Explain to the child that the dentist cares about their oral health and that they are checking for sugar bugs so they can remove them. By choosing to use more positive language, you can help change your child's perception of the dentist.
It is advisable that the first visit to the dentist starts at a young age. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should have their first visit when their first tooth is visible or at age one. This allows your little one to develop a relationship with the dentist and provides the kid with a dental home where they can feel comfortable.
The dentist will slowly introduce your child to the dental environment and things like dental tools over time to help lower anxiety. If your child is older than one year and hasn't had a dental check-up yet, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
If your child is anxious and has a hard time sitting still, you may want to consider dental sedation to keep them relaxed. Sedation options such as nitrous oxide or laughing gas, or oral conscious sedation can allow your anxious child to feel relaxed while remaining active.
Knowing what to do if your child is scared of dentists is important as it benefits your baby's physical and mental health. At Chula Vista Pediatric Dentistry, we have a team of pediatric dentists committed to helping your child overcome dental phobia. Contact us online or call us at (619) 482-1210 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rene, our lead pediatric dentist, and discover how your child's oral health can be improved without inflicting trauma.