6 Tips to Help Your Child Overcome Their Dental Anxiety

A typical trip to a dental office can be overwhelming for many children. Dental anxiety affects numerous people, and children are at a particularly high risk. Thankfully, this issue isn’t always permanent. It may take some work, but you can help your child overcome their fear and make their trips to the dentist more enjoyable. Here are some tips to help your child feel more comfortable at the dental office.

1. Start Early

According to the ADA, children should see a dentist by their first birthday. Early visits help a child get used to regular appointments. Furthermore, starting young can reduce your child’s anxiety. Exposure therapy helps with nerves, and the more your child visits the dentist over the years, the less afraid they are likely to be.

2. Do a Meet and Greet From Home

If your child is afraid to visit a dental office, find your doctor’s social media site. See if you can set up a video or phone call with the dentist. Let your child talk with the dentist, laugh at their jokes, and get to know them. It’s harder for children to be afraid of a fun and friendly person.

3. Visit the Dentist in Person

Visiting a dentist in person may also help with anxiety. Many family dental offices include kid-friendly waiting rooms with books or magazines to read. Tour the treatment area, talk with the dentist, and let your child have fun. Often, simply getting to know the office can minimize a child’s anxiety.

4. Roleplay at Home

Children love to pretend to be doctors, teachers, astronauts, pop stars, etc. because they learn through roleplaying. Sit down with your little one and roleplay a dentist’s visit. Modeling a typical visit should reduce their anxiety. We suggest letting them play the dentist when roleplaying.

5. Get Treatment at the Same Time

Children learn how to behave by watching their parents. If you act anxious about a dental appointment, their fear will skyrocket. Schedule your visit at the same time as theirs to show your child that you aren’t afraid. Positive “brave” behaviors will often soothe a child’s anxiety.

6. Use Positive Language

Always talk about dental treatments positively with your child. Avoid using words like “painful,” which may heighten their anxiety. Children pick up quickly on things like this, especially from their parents, so it’s important to be mindful.

With the right steps, dental anxiety can be overcome. Treat your child’s dental office like a fun and safe place every time you visit. Laugh with the receptionist, talk with the dentist, and play with your child in the waiting room. If you’re looking for a skilled dentist with experience working with patients of all ages, contact Breakwater Dental today.

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