Dental anxiety in children can be a serious issue. Children need some guidance to learn about the importance of good oral health. Dental anxiety in kids is often caused by fear of the unknown. Parents need to set good examples and show a positive attitude towards dental visits to help children feel relaxed at the dentist's office.
If your child has extreme dental anxiety, your first step is to schedule an appointment with our children's dentist, who is known to work with fearful patients. We recommend scheduling an appointment before your child has any pain or discomfort – this way, teeth can be visually inspected without any pain or discomfort being introduced to the experience. Once your child is familiar with their dentist and the office setting, they will be easier to manage during future appointments.
During the initial appointment at our dentistry, we will take the time to demonstrate all of the tools and pieces of equipment we use so your child will feel comfortable being examined. We will also show your child around our office and help them learn where everything is located. When a child feels in control of the situation, they will feel more relaxed during their visit.
If your child is experiencing severe dental anxiety, we may suggest sedation dentistry to help them relax throughout their procedure. Nitrous oxide is a very mild sedative that will help calm your child without putting them to sleep. This is highly effective for treating mild to moderate dental anxiety, and it wears off quickly, so your child will be able to resume normal activities after their procedure is complete. For more serious cases of dental anxiety, we may recommend oral conscious sedation. This type of sedation is taken in the form of a pill prior to treatment. Your child will be awake but will feel completely relaxed during treatment. It typically takes a few hours for the medication to wear off so they can return home after the procedure. Some additional drowsiness can be expected in the hours following treatment.
Even if your child is able to sit through a basic examination and cleaning with no problems, it is still important to bring a distraction along to every appointment. Bring your child's favorite toy or stuffed animal with you to the dentist appointment. Having a familiar object with you can help soothe anxiety.
Reading books, watching animated cartoons and movies, and, most importantly, playing with puppets and other toys that imitate dentist visits are great ways to show your kids what a typical visit to the dental office is like. This builds trust so that when it comes time for the real appointment, they know what to expect.
While reading these types of books and watching these movies, play the role of a dentist and use your finger to "count" your child's teeth to make sure that they are all present and healthy. This will help them have a positive attitude toward going to see a dentist in the future.
Many parents put off their children's dental appointments until necessary due to the fear of the unknown. This fear can cause children to experience anxiety over upcoming dental appointments and delay them from getting the dental care they need. Even if your son or daughter seems calm about visiting the dentist's office, it's important to teach them about the importance of good oral health at a young age so they can carry those healthy oral habits into adulthood. Part of your job as a parent is to teach your kids by example. Show them how excited you are about your dentist appointment by sharing with them your own positive experience at the dental office. If your child is old enough to understand, remind them that the dentist will check their teeth to ensure they are healthy and strong. They will be able to explain to them the importance of proper oral hygiene and answer any questions they may have on their visit. This will help ease their nerves and get them excited about their upcoming visit.
The dentists at Downtown Concord Dental can help you improve your smile. We are located at 2151 Salvio St Suite A-1, Concord, CA 94520. Contact us at (925) 566-8738 or visit our website to book an appointment with us.