Many children have fear of the dentist. The unfamiliar sights and sounds can overwhelm small children. A single bad experience as a kid can even give adults long-term anxiety during dental exams. A 2018 survey conducted by online dental marketing research platform, Dentavox, revealed that more than 60% of adults share that anxiety.
The pediatric dental team at Children’s Sedation Dentist of Las Vegas is well-acquainted with childhood fears of the dentist. Over the years of our practice, we’ve learned that there are some simple ways parents can prepare their children for a visit to the dentist.
The key word is “preparation”. How to calm dental anxiety in your child involves a series of actions that remove fear from the equation, resulting in a better understanding of what the big day is all about. So, let’s find out how to help your child approach a visit to the dentist with confidence.
Accentuate the Positives
Children are very perceptive about negativity in our language, both verbal and non-verbal. Like sponges, they can pick up on things that we aren’t even trying to communicate and can take them to heart.
How to get over dental anxiety, for a child, is based on parental attitude and approach. When you’re hitting a positive note, your child will follow suit. When talking to your child about visiting the dentist, avoid trigger words like “pain”, “needle”, “drill” or other words that carry connotations of discomfort. Instead, focus on your child’s dental health and how important it is. Words that inspire positive emotions, like “healthy” or “strong” support you in sending the right message
Fear of the dentist (or anything else you can think of) stems from the unknown. What we don’t know, we tend to fear, so fill your child in. Explain to them the role of the dentist in overall health and how important their teeth are to a healthy, well-lived life. Talk about how dentists help people by keeping their teeth in excellent condition.
Using your own positive experience of dentistry is how to calm dental anxiety in your child, remembering that you are the shining example they follow. Speak positively and with confidence and watch your child’s anxiety rapidly evaporate.
Be Careful About Bribing Your Kids
Kids are pretty smart. After too long, they’ll pick up on what a bribe is and what it means. Ask yourself what message you’re sending your child when bribing them to ignore their fear of the dentist. What you’re telling them is that going to the dentist is “bad”. You’re telling them that you’re unsure how to deal with their anxiety.
Bribes are not how to get over dental anxiety. Bribes backfire by sending the wrong message and encouraging manipulation on your child’s part. You’re the parent. Don’t take the easy way out because it’s not as easy as it looks.
The Sooner the Better
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a first visit to the dentist before children hit their first birthday. And that’s a great idea for many reasons.
A child who visits the dentist early in life is more likely to take the experience in stride. A great early experience shows a child that the dentist is their trusted friend. As the dentist becomes familiar to your child, a dentist visit is just like a visit anywhere else – school, their doctor, or their piano teacher. There’s nothing scary about the familiar face of someone you trust.
Make Dentist Visits Routine
Establishing a twice-yearly dentist schedule for your child does more than quell fear of the dentist. This discipline serves to protect your child’s teeth right from the start, preventing larger problems from cropping up through early intervention and care.
We fear what we don’t know. How to get over dental anxiety starts with making the dentist more familiar to your child. Embed the dentist in your child’s mind as someone who helps them and cares about their health. Your child will learn that a visit to the dentist is a healthy habit that keeps their beautiful smile looking its best.
Choose a Specialist in Children’s Sedation Dentist of Las Vegas
While it’s true that young patients can be treated by most dentists, it’s important to choose a pediatric dentist that specializes in caring for children. At Children’s Sedation Dentist of Las Vegas, we’re a team of pediatric dental professionals expressly committed to the oral health of toddlers, children, and adolescents.
We’ve treated thousands of children, so we specialize in making them feel at ease and at home. We’re family-friendly, working closely with parents to arrive at the best treatment plans for our young patients, including how to calm dental anxiety.
When children visit one of our ten convenient locations in the great Las Vegas area, they come to check in with a friend. In fact, even if they suffer from a fear of the dentist, that fear doesn’t last long. We make friends with our young patients because we don’t treat them like file numbers but like members of our family. Our warm, compassionate team loves children and we love serving them and their families with the best oral healthcare available anywhere.
Welcoming all Children and Their Families
At Children’s Sedation Dentist of Las Vegas, we’re deeply committed to quality care for children and families in our community. That includes our staff that speaks English and Spanish. That includes our extra care for special needs children. And that includes our commitment to many forms of insurance including Nevada State’s Liberty Medicaid.
At Children’s Sedation Dentist, we acknowledge the diversity of family life, making our office the favorite pediatric dental practice in the greater Las Vegas area. By creating a family-friendly resource that focuses on all kinds of children, we ensure that our services are available to everyone who needs them.
Make Dentist Tips a Positive Experience
Childhood fear of the dentist isn’t a barrier when families and the exceptional team at Children’s Sedation Dentist work together. We know how to calm dental anxiety, helping you help your child by sharing some simple tips to prepare.
That preparation comes to fruition at our office, with a genuine sensitivity to children’s needs and an empathetic touch that makes visiting the dentist a great experience. With Children’s Sedation Dentist of Las Vegas, there’s no more fear of the dentist.
We invite you to schedule a consultation. Discover the difference child-centered dentistry makes to your child.