Is your child scared of the dentist?

By now, we adults know that dentists do not wear masks in an attempting to hide gaping holes in their mouths, waiting to be filled with our extracted teeth following a trip to the dentist’s office. As adults of relevant intellect and intelligence we are able to deduce the necessity behind frequent visits to the dentist and do not see the routine as one that has been derived to harm us.

Children, however, rarely fail to see things this way. A trip to the dentist, indeed, the thought alone of visiting the dentist is often met with trepidation and fear. It even, for some children, is a catalyst for nightmares. It makes complete sense—the whirr of the drill, the blinding white light, the blue gloves and masked mouths of the dentist and their assistants do not normally feature in every day life. All these things can be scary.

Treating dental anxiety

Dental anxiety refers to a mild fear of dentists. It was coined in the 1940s and psychiatric and dental professionals believe that this anxiety generally cultivates following a negative childhood experience. This can be the person’s own experience or anxiety over hearing about someone else’s experience.

Recent conducted in 2005 found that nearly 19.5 percent of all school age children are afraid of the dentist. Children who have a dental anxiety are often a challenge to treat and some dentist even consider fearful children as being some of the most problematic patients. Anxiety of any sort is something that must be conquered, it will not dissipate as a result of force or pressure. It is important, then, to treat it as an actual condition and to employ specific techniques targeted at alleviating anxiety. These three tips will help to cull dental anxiety in your child:

1. Inform

Children are creatures of habit. They thrive under a schedule and when they have been given as much information as possible about an upcoming event or task that is new to them. The child with a legitimate anxiety of the dentist may be calmed by having an idea of exactly what they will encounter from the sounds and sights to the sensations and duration of the procedure.

2. Relax

Anxiety manifests itself visibly and when a child is visibly anxious about a visit to the dentist, employing relaxation techniques can help to ease their worry. Simply helping your child to breathe deeply with long inhalations and slow, steady exhalations can help dissipate anxiety.

3. Distract

Dental anxiety can be successfully minimized through distraction. Depending on the age of your child, how you choose to distract will vary. For younger children, a toy will be an excellent tool. Older children tend to respond well to dialogue distraction techniques or visualization through the use of videos and films.

Although hundreds of thousands of children are affected each year with dental anxiety, it does not have to be a condition that your child gives in to. By understanding the affliction and employing the three tips discussed, you can help to alleviate your child’s anxiety and improve their visit to the dentist.

For more details on a range of dental treatments and overcoming fear of the dentist visit the website.

About the author
Mrs. Hatland is a 30-something married, mom of 7 and the face behind the popular online publication, Motherhood Defined. Known as the Iowa Mom blogger by her local peers and “The Fairy Blogmother” worldwide. She has professional experience in working closely with clients on brand ambassadorships, client outreach services, content creation and creative social media advertising exposure.

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