A common occurrence, dental anxiety can be crippling for adults, causing them to delay dental visits or treatment. As many people learn the hard way, delaying dental care can ultimately lead to more expensive and complicated treatment down the road.
To prevent dental anxiety in your children, we recommend that you help them start forming good habits early in their lives. In dentistry, we emphasize the importance of prevention! If your child is accustomed to visiting the dentist early on and has positive experiences, they will be less likely to delay visits and care later in their life.
Here are some ways to combat dental anxiety in your children:
Help your child to develop good habits early on! This can start at home‒build a strong brushing routine with your child. As a rule of thumb, until they can tie their shoes themselves, it is great for you to help them brush. Start brushing early on, and your child will be more acclimated to the feeling of someone else brushing their teeth, which may help them at their early dental visits. Also, schedule a visit to the dentist by age 1, or within 6 months of their first tooth.
Associate the dentist with fun! If possible, try to do something fun or exciting after dental visits. Go to the park, play on your child’s favorite playground, or plan anything that
Schedule your child with a pediatric dentist! Pediatric dentists not only have more education in children’s dentistry and experience with children, but their offices are also designed for kids. There are play areas and fun decorations, prizes, and staff who are experienced working with children.
Talk about the dentist with your child! Emphasize that the dentist is a fun and special experience. Point out to your child that the dentist makes their teeth strong, and gets rid of any sugar bugs. You can even show your child photos of the office and staff, tell them how nice everyone is, and how fun the office is.
Familiarize your child with the dentist’s office! If your child is still anxious, try bringing them by the office for a toothbrush, or to play in the play area. We always love visitors, and this will create positive associations with the dentist and our office. Furthermore, the next time your child comes in, they will be in a familiar environment.