Childhood dental anxiety is a common issue. About 9% of children in the United States experience some fear or anxiety in response to routine dental care. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean your child has to fear the dentist or that dental anxiety is somehow unavoidable. Let’s look at how you can try keeping your kid calm at the dentist.
Keeping Your Kid Calm at the Dentist
Research has shown that this fear is learned. By taking the appropriate precautions, you can help your child to build a healthy relationship with their dentist that will make it easier for them to maintain their oral health for the rest of their lives. Here are some ways to get started as well as a few options to help repair that relationship if your child is already fearful.
Make the Dentist’s Office as “Routine” as Possible
Children naturally experience some anxiety in new environments. It takes repeated exposure with positive outcomes to help that anxiety subside. You can easily apply this method to the dentist office by working short visits into your routine.
Before your first appointment for pediatric dentistry in Burbank try to take your little one by the office at least once. If the office is located between your home and one of your regular stops, you may want to make several visits whenever you have the time.
Make the Dentist’s Office a Fun Place
You don’t have to stay long. Just pop in, say “hi” to the nice people at reception. And do something fun with your little one for a few minutes. A short picture book or 2-3 minutes with a favored toy is fine.
You can also ask the staff if it is possible to show your youngster the back area real quick, but that isn’t always possible. Keep it light the entire time you’re there, and try to end on a positive note. Even if Baby gets a bit fussy, your positivity will go a long way towards making them feel more comfortable in that space.
Check Your Own Emotions
One of the most reliable predictors of childhood dental anxiety is parental dental anxiety. If you have some fear of the dentist, then you are going to need to put on as brave a face as you can for your child. The same goes for parents that get anxious about their child’s other medical visits.
If necessary, you may want to have the other parent nearby. Or a trusted guardian who is very close to the child take over for the first few visits. Talk to your dentist to make sure the paperwork is in order if someone other than a parent will be bringing your child in for their appointments.
Don’t Skip Appointments
Your child should see their dentist every six months once they are a year old. This frequency is better for their oral health, and it also establishes consistency for your child. Over time, this consistency will help your child to feel like the dentist is just a normal part of their routine. With any luck regular visits and good oral hygiene will mean that your child only has to undergo the slight discomfort of cleanings and x-rays.
Continue Their Education
Before and in between office visits it is usually a good idea to remind your child that the dentist is there to help them. You can facilitate their continued education by reading books with them that talk about the dentist and routine oral hygiene. Are you ready to introduce your child to television? Then there exist a number of programs that will teach your child about the importance of going to the dentist.
At the end of the day you just want a child who doesn’t fight all the way to the dentist. By helping them to feel comfortable and secure in that environment, you’re dramatically decreasing the odds that your child will experience serious dental anxiety. However, if you are struggling, talk to your dentist. They offer pediatric and cosmetic dentistry in Burbank to ensure that your entire family can maintain healthy teeth and confident smiles.