For many parents, dental anxiety can be a cause for concern. Anxiety can be detrimental to the oral health of a child and dragging an unwilling patient to the dentist’s office every six months can prove to be a daunting ordeal.
According to the Centre for Dentistry, 10% of children report having severe dental anxiety, with injections and the drill being the things that scare them most.
– Tell your child well in advance that they have a dental appointment. This will give your child opportunity to mentally prepare for the date.
– Change the terminology of ‘scary’ sounding treatments such as ‘injection’ and ‘extraction’ to something less frightening. Contact your dental office for advice on best explaining treatments to your child.
– Let them voice any concerns and answer their questions. Remind your child that they can ask their dentist about the procedure also.
– Remind your child about the importance of maintaining oral health. Explain that the dentist is there to help and that going to appointments is an important part of keeping teeth healthy.
– Inform the dentist about the child’s dental anxiety before the appointment
– Stay calm! This is often easier said in the heat of the moment – try and speak to your child with a calm demeanour.
– Praise your child for their good behaviour and bravery once the appointment has ended. Positive reinforcement works wonders!
www.llttf.com/dental/ is a useful website which provides resources for children and young people who are scared of the dentist.