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Ease Your Child’s Dental Anxiety: Tots, Teens and Ages in Between

February 24, 2015


Is your child frightened at the mere mention of a dentist appointment? It’s common for children of all ages to fear a dental visit.

As a parent, there are many ways to ease your child’s anxiety. Help your child move from screaming “AHHH!!!” to calmly opening wide and saying, “Ahh…” at the dentist’s office.

INFANTS AND TODDLERS

Babies and toddlers experience “firsts” on a daily basis. By the time your infant turns one, it’s time to introduce him or her to another first – a dental visit.

Keep it positive. Talk in a calm, upbeat tone leading up to the appointment. Your child can pick up on your tone and stress level.

Bring a soothing item from home. A blanket or favorite toy can distract your tot, while making him or her more comfortable.

CHILDREN OF ALL AGES

Finding a dentist and office staff professionals who cater to kids can help your child overcome fears of having regular dental visits.

Choose a kid-friendly dentist’s office. Pediatric dentists have the training and qualifications to care for your youngster’s teeth, mouth and gums throughout their childhood. Many pediatric dentist offices have colorful waiting rooms and an array of kids’ books, toys and video games that can help your child have an enjoyable experience. It’s easy to locate a pediatric dentist near you.

Praise your child after the dentist’s appointment. Express how proud you are of your son or daughter for visiting the dentist. Your positive reinforcement will help your child learn that seeing the dentist regularly – and brushing and flossing daily – will help ensure a healthy smile for life. 

TEENAGERS

Like many adults and younger kids, teens experience dental anxiety. However, they might be embarrassed to admit fear of an upcoming appointment.                                                                                            

Talk to your teen. Ask questions and offer advice. What are their expectations? What about the dentist visit makes them feel this way? You might be surprised at how much talking can help decrease fears.

Introduce relaxation techniques. There are many mediation programs that train patients how to relax their muscles. Studies show that these programs help to relieve dental anxiety.

A dental visit doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable experience for your child. Be patient and try a variety of age-appropriate methods to help your child win out over worry and confidently climb into the dental chair. Is your child afraid of the dentist? What remedies have worked for your child? Share your advice in the comments section.


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