Dental anxiety can affect people of all ages, but it’s most common among children. Children may fear the dentist for numerous reasons. Some children may not like the feeling of getting their teeth scraped, while others may be afraid of the sound of the dental drill. If your child has dental anxiety, here are a few tips to ease them.

Start Dental Visits While They’re Young

According to the American Dental Association, children should visit the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears or by the age of one. This may seem too soon for many parents to allow their child to be examined by a dentist, but preventive dentistry at an early age helps set the foundation for a lifetime of dental health. Starting these early appointments can help a child feel more comfortable about going to the dentist as he or she gets older and also helps parents learn how to properly care for their little one’s teeth at home.

Take a Comforting Item to the Dentist Appointment

Bring along a familiar comfort item for your child to hold during the visit. Some ideas include a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or book. These items can help distract your child from worrying thoughts and provide a sense of comfort during dental treatments. You can also encourage your child to talk and interact with the dental team during their visit. This is a great way to help minimize the stress associated with going to the dentist. Additionally, you can schedule multiple short appointments for your child’s first experience at the dentist instead of one long appointment. This will help ease your child into the experience and allow them to become more comfortable with each visit to our practice.

Read Stories or Play Games Involving Dentist Visits

Reading books and playing games that involve going to the dentist can be a fun way for you and your child to talk about the importance of great oral health. These activities can also help your child feel more comfortable about future visits to the dentist. For example, there are children’s books that deal with visiting the dentist and show that children don’t have to be scared during their next check-up. There are also games that allow children to role-play being the dentist or the patient, which can help prepare them for what they might experience during their visit.

Remember, the more that you talk about dental care with your child, the more likely they will feel prepared and comfortable for their appointment. Feel free to ask the on-duty assistant for help finding these resources for your child.

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Don’t forget to lead by example. Brushing your teeth together each morning before school teaches the importance of dental hygiene for kids at home. Make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging enamel. Flossing is also an important daily task that should be done to remove food and bacteria from between teeth. Keep floss picks available as alternatives to traditional string floss.

Make sure to teach your children how to properly brush and floss their teeth. Try demonstrating your technique for them until they are comfortable brushing on their own. Don’t forget to replace their toothbrush every two months to keep their gums healthy. Your pediatric dentist will also demonstrate proper ways to brush and discuss hygiene techniques you can use with your kids at home.

We’re happy to schedule a consultation to help you learn more about your choices, or book an appointment today!

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