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Dental Anxiety? 4 Tools Every Parent Needs Under Their Belt

The US National Library of Medicine studied dental phobia and concluded that it is present in 24.9% of adults. Their findings also suggested that it is a stable and long-standing fear for those that experience it. One of the best ways to avoid dental phobia in adulthood is to avoid dental anxiety in children. If you want your child be relaxed at the dentist’s office, there are several strategies you can use to reassure your child.

Find a Good Pediatric Dentist

Unfortunately, not all dentists are particularly well-suited or well-equipped to work with children. Smaller instruments and trays are necessary, as is a proper demeanor. You want to find a pediatric dentist who has a calm and gentle nature and introduce your child to them before any dental work is needed. Ideally, you’ll find someone who your child likes and is able to trust.

Prepare Your Child at Home

Your child should be used to opening their mouth on request, as well as allowing you to put your fingers in their mouth. Buy a dental mirror at the drug store and use it to inspect your child’s teeth at home. This makes the experience normal to your child, not strange and invasive. A few minutes a week of this training can make a big difference, especially if your child is still quite young.

Consider Sedation Dentistry

If your child is exceptionally fearful or the procedures he or she needs will be long or uncomfortable, sedation dentistry is a great option. Professionals, like those at Dental Implant & Cosmetic, PC, know that it helps many children who don’t particularly enjoy going to the dentist. Your child sleeps through the entire procedure without any discomfort or anxiety, which will help prevent the formation of a full-blown phobia. Talk to your dentist about sedation and if it might be appropriate for your child.

Reward Your Child for Bravery

There’s no shame in admitting to your child that having dental work isn’t always pleasant and that their cooperation is appreciated. As with any other behavior you want to reinforce, reward your child with something they will enjoy like a new toy or a trip to the park. There is a fine line between rewarding and bribery, but be sure to make sure your child understands you are pleased by good behavior.

Dental anxiety in children can lead to phobia, which can lead to a lifetime of painful and unsightly teeth, infections, pain and early tooth loss. These strategies will help you avoid dental anxiety in your child and get them on the road to good oral health for life.

Tim Esterdahl

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