Dental care is essential for your child to have healthy teeth. Kids tend to consume a lot of sugary foods, which can lead to bacterial growth in their teeth, causing cavities. Therefore, it's crucial to take them to a dentist to ensure that they do not lose teeth or experience immense pain that may affect their ability to eat and speak. The dentist can also help ensure that your child's dental problems are treated on time.
However, kids are generally cautious about new surroundings or doctors. They may associate dental visits with pain, and it’s no surprise to see them throwing tantrums when you get to the dentist's office, making it difficult for them to be treated. Their anxiety could continuously become a permanent problem, affecting them into adulthood. Thus, it would be helpful if you knew ways to calm your kids so they can get the most out of the dentist visit.
Below are six ways to ease dental anxiety in kids:
1) Find A Dentist With Experience In Dealing With Anxious Kids
Your kids might be afraid of the dentist's office because they’ve had negative experiences with previous dentists, the instruments scared them, or you didn’t prepare them for a visit. If you’ve noticed such anxiety over time, your kids get scared simply by mentioning a dental visit. So, do your due diligence and find a dentist with experience dealing with anxious kids.
You can start by finding a dentist in your area, such as Alexandria Children's Dentistry or similar clinics, so that you can make appointments on time and help your kids get used to the dentist. Dentists with experience dealing with anxious kids will take their time to make the surroundings child-friendly and find all possible ways to calm kids.
2) Consider Sedation For Your Kids
Sometimes your kids may be highly anxious, despite trying other methods of easing their fears. At such a point, it may be futile to try and encourage your kids to go for treatment, but you may consider trying out sedation for them. It's a procedure done by dentists certified to practice pediatric sedation dentistry. They can sedate your kids for an operation or cleaning procedure, especially if they’re afraid of looking at the needles or the dentist's office.
Moreover, certified dentists can sedate your child using various techniques like moderate, general, minimal, and deep sedation to decrease their anxiety. They can be calm throughout the procedure. It would be helpful if you spoke to your dentist about the requirements for sedation to help your child have an easier time until treatment proceeds smoothly.
3) Start Dental Visits Early
You should not wait until your child has started developing dental problems to take them to the dentist. It might scare them and elevate their anxiety. Thus, as soon as your child starts teething, take them for dental appointments to help them get accustomed to it and prevent tooth decay.
4) Explain To Your Child What To Expect
It's wise not to simply ambush your child with a dentist visit. They can get scared when they see typical dentistry equipment for the first time in the dentist's office. Thus, inform them about the upcoming visit and allow them to ask any questions.
Use simple terms when explaining to them about the dental visit and the tools to be used. Perhaps informing them of the visit will help them know what to do to avoid tooth problems.
Don’t use terms like the ‘dentist will drill a hole’ and ‘there will be blood.’ Such words can add more fear to them. Be subtle in your explanations. You can read them books or show them pictures of the dentist's office and the tools to be used from the internet or magazines.
5) Encourage Your Child To Practice Oral Hygiene At Home
Practicing dental hygiene can help your kids understand that dental care is essential for their overall health. If you only take them to the dentist when they have problems, they will always see it as a painful procedure to solve a problem that can scare them. Thus, encourage your kids to brush their teeth regularly and avoid consuming sugary foods to prevent dental issues from arising.
6) Teach Your Kids How To Relax
Various relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or visualization, can help your kids feel calm and relaxed during their dental visit. You can practice these techniques with your child at home and encourage them to use them during their visit to ease their nerves.
Easing your child's anxiety can help them have an easier time with the dentist. Choose a dentist who has excellent techniques to ensure your kids are comfortable. You can also ask the dentist for practical methods to help your kids feel at ease during the visit.