A visit to the dentist can lead to anxiety for some children, just as much as it can for some adults. Dental anxiety as we grow older can result in not booking regular appointments with a dentist. This can increase the risk of oral health issues not being diagnosed at an early stage when they are easier to treat. Yet there are ways to help prevent or overcome a child’s dental anxiety.
Start Them Young
Your child will tend to have their first tooth by the age of 6 months and this is when it is recommended they should first see a dentist. As well as ensuring your child’s teeth develop properly, introducing them at such an early age to a dental practice will help familiarise them with this setting. With regular appointments as they grow up, your child should become more comfortable and confident when visiting the dentist, reducing the anxiety they may originally have experienced.
Anxiety is Normal
A degree of anxiety when visiting the dentist at any age is to be expected. Therefore, your child feeling anxious prior to their appointment is normal and understandable. As a parent, you can help influence the child’s level of anxiety, so it does not become difficult for them to cope. Try to remain calm yourself, as your child could react and feed off any anxiety you display. On the whole, show understanding of their anxiety and reassure them, telling them how nice the dentist and dental nurses will be.
Find the Right Dentist
To help allay dental anxiety it is important to find a dentist in which both you and your child are comfortable. Take the time to visit a prospective practice to meet the team and look around. Both you and your child should like what you see. A child-friendly dental practice will also often have toys and equipment such as special sunglasses to make children feel more at ease, helping to reduce potential anxiety.
Leave Explanations to the Dentist
A child-friendly dentist with experience treating children will know how to best explain the process of the visit to allay any fears. It is best to avoid explaining the dental procedures in detail to your child, leaving it to the experienced experts instead. Your job can be to keep reassuring them ahead of any visit about how nice and caring everyone at the practice is.