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Five Tips to Help Your Kids Overcome Fear of Dentists

Dental anxiety doesn’t just impact adults. It can be very common for children to experience fear of the dentist or anxiety about dental visits, too. So how can you help your children embrace a good oral hygiene routine and learn that the dentist’s office isn’t a scary place?  With a few simple tips and tricks, you can ensure that your child’s next dental checkup go will go smoothly…and you’ll both be smiling.

Start them young: It’s never too early to take your little one to the dentist.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child’s first visit to the dentist take place around age one or when the first tooth is visible.  Early visits to the dentist will be very simple, and the dentist will look at your child’s teeth, encourage proper brushing and be on the lookout for any mouth size and shape issues or other concerns. Early visits to the dentist allow both you and your child to establish a relationship with the dentist and their office staff and become familiar with tools and office procedures. This helps create a positive association with the dentist and their office.

Choose the right dentist: Pediatric dentistry has made great strides in recent years.  Pediatric dentist’s offices often feature video games, televisions, and a variety of treats to entice young guests.  And pediatric dentists have special training to aid in them in speaking to their young patients about dental procedures with creative terminology that does not foster fear in children.  For example, a pediatric dentist may refer to “cleaning sugar bugs” off teeth to help keep a child’s teeth healthy and strong. Pediatric dentist’s offices also tend to avoid words like “shot”, “hurt” and “pain” when talking about procedures or problems like cavities.  Creative terminology and a child-friendly atmosphere can help children cope with dental procedures in a positive way.

Keep it simple: It’s not wise to keep your child’s upcoming dental appointment a secret, but you don’t have to share too many details, either.  Tell your child they have a dental checkup appointment or procedure scheduled at a certain date and time, but keep your explanation of the visit very simple. While some parents think that taking their child to their own adult dental appointment may be good preparation for a child, that’s not always the case.  Children can pick up on their parents’ dental anxiety or be confused by terminology used by an adult’s dentist.  Arrange for alternate care for your kids during your appointment, and consult with a pediatric dentist used to addressing children’s concerns instead.

Prepare for fussing: Despite good preparation and careful choice of a pediatric dentist, your child may still squirm, whine or scream during dental appointments.  Children have dental anxiety for many reasons: fear of the unknown, fear that they will not be able to breathe during the appointment, fear of loss of control and many other factors.  Speak to your pediatric dentist’s office in advance if your child has sensory issues or you are exceptionally concerned about an upcoming appointment. Pediatric dentists have many tricks and tools available to help alleviate children’s fears during regular dental cleanings or more complicated dental procedures.

Emphasize good oral care: No matter what, it’s important to remind your child that good oral care is imperative. Regular dentist visits, when paired with proper brushing and flossing, can help to prevent cavities and ensure a beautiful smile.  Sometimes a dentist may need to fill a cavity or perform another procedure, but remind your child that dentists are working to ensure that we have healthy teeth to help us eat, speak, smile and more for years to come. Dentists are friends, not foes!

No matter if dental anxiety is minor or severe, top-notch pediatric dentists utilize a variety of tools to ensure a peaceful dental experience for you and your little one.  Whether using laughing gas or sedation dentistry for tough cases or using the DentalVibe tool to eliminate the discomfort from dental injections, dentists have a variety of methods available to ensure that your child’s dental visits are as pain free and stress free as possible.  Look for a pediatric dentist that uses DentalVibe or suggest DentalVibe to your pediatric dentist today! To learn more about painless dental procedures, visit dentalvibe.com

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