Ways To Calm Your Child’s Anxiety at the Dentist

If your child struggles with anxiety surrounding dental visits, our staff at Bridge Creek Dental has several tips for you to help calm their fears.

Keep A Positive Attitude

Children take many of their attitudes from their parents, so it is up to you to keep a positive attitude about the dentist. Some of the things you may want to avoid to keep things positive are:

  • Don’t empathize with your child’s concerns. If your child knows that you are afraid of the dentist or have had bad experiences, it will only confirm their anxiety is valid.
  • Avoid becoming openly frustrated with their discomfort. It can be hard, especially if your child is acting out, but negative emotions can reinforce a child’s anxiety around the dentist.

Give Age-Appropriate Information

When going in for preventative dental care, you will want to keep the explanation to your child age-appropriate. A five-year-old likely will not understand talk about bacteria and cavities. Instead, it can potentially add to a young child’s anxiety. Instead, stick to the basics such as the dentist will take pictures of their teeth then check to make sure the teeth are clean.

If you have an older child around 10 years old, you can give a more scientifically correct explanation. Not too much detail is needed, but you can explain what the cleaning is for and how the X-ray machine allows the dentist to see below the surface to make sure everything is okay.

More than anything, it is essential to bring your child to the dentist by the time their first tooth has cut. This practice will help acclimate your child to dental appointments and make them less intimidating.

Roleplay A Dental Appointment

Part of your child’s anxiety surrounding their dental appointment can be due to the unknown element. You can help alleviate these fears by roleplaying a dental visit with your child. Some things you can do are:

  • Have your child take a comfortable seat.
  • Use a hand mirror and allow your child to look at their teeth as you pretend clean.
  • Pretend to clean with their toothbrush. There no need to simulate the actual tools.
  • Tell your child what you “the dentist” are looking for during the pretend checkup. With young children, you can simply tell them you are looking for clean teeth.

Skip any pretend cavity filling or other potentially intimidating procedure. If your child does end up needing extra dental work, our dentists can help you explain the procedure.

Let Your Dental Office Know

Dental anxiety is relatively common among children. Our dentists, as well as our dental clinic staff, are experienced in working with anxious children. If you contact us and let us know before your child’s visit, we can help them calm down when they come in for their appointment.

Lifelong dental hygiene starts with helping children alleviate their anxiety around the dentist.

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