Your child has dental anxiety. Perhaps they have had a bad
experience in the past. Perhaps the dental tools or sounds seem scary to them.
Maybe you fear the dentist as well, and it has rubbed off on them. Whatever the
reason, dental anxiety is very real. But there are ways to ease your kid’s
dental anxiety, especially when you’re partnered with a good local pediatric
dentist in Dix Hills.
Knowledge is power, and knowing what’s coming can reduce
your child’s fear. Even if you can’t explain a procedure in depth, you can
explain the kinds of noises they might hear, the tastes they might have, and
the sensations they might experience in his mouth.
Tell your child that they can signal the pediatric dentist
to stop at any time if necessary. Not only does that help them feel as if they
has some control in the situation, but it can increase trust between your child
and their pediatric dentist.
If you talk negatively about going to the dentist or the
procedure, your child will certainly feel negatively about it as well. Make
going to the dentist a positive thing, because it is!
Although you could explain the negative outcomes of not
going to the dentist, focus on the positive outcomes of the checkup or procedure.
A beautiful smile. Clean teeth and gums. A healthy mouth. Happy child!
You can also offer a reward or treat for cooperating, such
as stickers or a coloring book. You decide how big or small you want to go and
what will motivate your child to be “brave.”
There are tons of relaxation techniques you can use to
reduce anxiety. Deep breathing works wonders for stress, even in children. You
can also bring an object, like a stuffed toy or blanket, from home for them to
hold, so they can feel more comfortable. On your way to the dentist, listen to
calming music or their favorite song to help them feel at ease.
You can also try visualization techniques with your child,
where you remember happy memories or events. To distract them, have them count
the tiles on the ceiling.
One study found that children were twice as likely to fear
the dentist if their guardians did. If you have dental anxiety, don’t let it
interfere with your child’s interaction with the dentist. Try to be a good role
model when it is your turn to visit the dentist.
Ask the dentist to gradually expose your child to the tools they
will use. For instance, if you child needs their mouth numbed for a procedure, the
pediatric dentist could show them the needle and explain the parts and
demonstrate where the needle will go in their mouth. The more times your child
can interact with the tools in a stress-free environment, the more desensitized
they will be.
Struggling with the needs of an anxious child can be
stress-inducing, but there are plenty of ways to help them form a positive
relationship with dental care that lasts for life! A pediatric dentist is the
perfect source for kid-friendly tips as well, if you need more help.
About the Author
Soni-Gaur is a board-certified pediatric dentist at Dix Hills Family
Dentistry with two children of her own. She is passionate about pediatric
dentistry and completed a two-year pediatric dental residency at New York
Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University. For more complex procedures, Dr.
Soni is able to administer nitrous oxide
sedation, which offers maximum comfort, especially for anxious
patients. She loves to make going to the dentist a fun experience for her
patients. You can contact her by calling (631) 673-8040 or clicking here.
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