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.
Fear of the dentist is very common – in fact it is the main reason adults in the UK give for putting off seeking dental treatment, above lack of time or worry about costs. At Danny De Villiers Dentist in Weybridge, our whole team understand and empathise with nervous patients. We are proud to offer pain-free dentistry, which is helping many people to get the dental treatment they need and the smile they’ve always wanted.
Pain-free dental options
At our Weybridge dental practice, we are able to carry out a number of procedures using a laser. Your dentist can use a laser to desensitise your teeth, and can also undertake a number of soft-tissue and periodontal (gum) treatments with a laser, which causes no pain and does not even require an anaesthetic.
We are also able to offer air abrasion options as an alternative to the traditional dentist’s drill. This has several benefits for patients, including no risk of chipping or stress fracturing, and no drill noises, all significantly improving comfort for even the most nervous of patients.
When your dentist uses the Aquacut Quattro air abrasion device to remove decayed areas of a tooth, it is also more conservative than using the drill, as only the desired areas are removed, preserving healthy tooth structure.
The Aquacut Quattro has no direct contact with the tooth structure and local anaesthetic is rarely needed, making this the ideal option for patients with dental phobia.
Whilst anxiety is more of a mental issue, it has many physical symptoms that it almost feels like a physical disorder. Anxiety or constant worrying causes problems that end up having an effect on oral health too. In fact, anxiety tests can determine whether your dental problems are due to nervousness or worrying.
One oral issue related to anxiety is bruxism or tooth grinding, especially at night. It occurs while sleeping and many people with this problem have no idea that they are grinding their teeth. Bruxism can wear down the tooth’s enamel and give you headaches at night. You may only start to notice the problem when you start to feel pain around the jaw.
Acid to the mouth
Anxiety and stress are associated with acid reflux, although it is a completely different condition. This brings acids up to the mouth, possibly damaging your teeth and the enamel. High levels of stress are also linked to gum disease, even though this is mostly because of the habit of anxious and stressed-out people such as disregarding oral hygiene and eating too much sugar as a way of coping emotionally.
Obsessed Over Teeth
Anxiety can cause you to obsess over your teeth, and make you believe that every toothache means a serious problem. This may cause you to overbrush to the point that you are already damaging your teeth and gums. There are also those who may note that during an anxiety attack, they feel a toothache or as if their teeth are loosening.
The Case of Dry Mouth
Dry mouth may occur with anxiety and can affect the health of your teeth. It may happen during periods of intense anxiety. Whilst dry mouth is not a serious medical problem, it may contribute to poor nutrition, mouth infections, tooth decay and psychological discomfort.
It helps to maintain a good oral healthcare, but you still need to see your dentist and listen to their recommendations. Your dentist may give you an insight into what likely caused your tooth problem and what you can do about them. Browse through our website today and find out how we can help with your dental issues.