It is completely normal for children to fear the dentist. Even adults have a fear of the dentist for heaven’s sake. If you have a child that is completely terrified of the dentist, there are a few things you can do to help them through this anxiety. Smile Reef is here to talk about what role both dentists and parents can play in easing their child’s dental anxiety.
Preparing a Child for the Dentist
The first thing that parents often do that causes more anxiety than is needed is to spring a dental appointment on their child. You should always give your child a head’s up that they are going to be visiting the dentist so they can prepare themselves for it. This doesn’t mean that you have to tell them a week in advance, but you should give them a few hours to mull it over before stepping into the office. This will give you the opportunity to answer any questions they may have so that they feel better about things.
How to Ease Your Child’s Dental Fear at the Dentist
You should always follow the dentist’s instructions as they are well trained in how to help children relax during their appointment. It can be helpful to bring their favorite toy or something that is especially soothing to your child. As long as the object doesn’t get in the dentist’s way, they are usually more than happy to have something that can help the child feel comfortable. Try to stay calm and that will help them stay calm.
My Child Freaks Out or Screams at Dentist; What Can They Do?
Pediatric dentists work with nothing but children every day. As a dentist, they will speak to your child in a calm, reassuring voice to help them feel safe and at ease. They may also explain what they are doing in simple terms that your child will be able to better understand. Allowing your child to see and touch the tools they will be using may be one of the tactics used to gain your child’s trust. Another method they may use is engaged conversation. Asking the child to talk about their favorite activities and other topics of interest can take your child’s mind off of what is going on.
Conscious Sedation Drugs
If nothing seems to be helping your child calm down for their appointment, another method that parents and dentists can decide is best together is conscious sedation. This will be just enough anti-anxiety medication that your child will be able to cope with the procedures that are taking place. They will still be awake and able to respond to whoever is speaking with them, but they will likely not remember what happened at the dentist the next day.