Most kids experience some anxiety about visiting the dentist, but for some, their fear is severe enough to prevent the dentist from being able to complete the exam. In these cases, a dentist may refer the child to a specialist or a pediatric dentist. Here are some tips for managing dental anxiety in children.
Start Dental Visits While They're Young
Small children aren't afraid of dentists; they don't understand what is going on and don't know why they are there. This is why it's so important to start dental visits at a young age before any problems develop. Children's early experiences at the dentist's office lay the foundation for their oral health for the rest of their life. Therefore, it's important to set a positive tone for dental care as soon as the first tooth erupts. Although babies don't yet understand what it means to go to the dentist and sit in a chair, children are old enough to understand the basics of dental care. If you wait until your child is older, they're likely to be more anxious than a child that has had regular appointments since they were a toddler. Children aren't the only ones who benefit from early dental visits; adults should visit their dentist regularly too! The same tips apply to both children and adults, just with different age groups in mind.
Take a Comforting Item to The Dentist's Appointment
Taking an item that comforts your child can help put them at ease while they sit in the chair. For older kids, this might be a blanket, stuffed animal, or even a picture of their favorite cartoon character. Younger children might be comforted by a favorite blanket or a pacifier. Older kids may not want a comfort item at all, but they may prefer having a toy to keep their hands busy as they sit in the chair.
Read Stories Or Play Games Involving Dentists And Office Visits
Reading books about visiting the dentist or taking your child to the library to look for books is one way to get your children used to the idea of going to the dentist. Another thing you can do is play pretend games with them. This could mean letting them pretend to be the dentist and "fix" your teeth or letting your child become the patient while you act as the dentist and have them open wide so you can look inside their mouth.
Teach Kids the Importance of Great Oral Health
Teaching your children oral hygiene habits at an early age will help create a healthy oral environment. It's also an opportunity for you to talk about why good oral health is important and reinforce your healthy habits as a family. Once children learn how to care for their teeth early on, they are more likely to continue those practices throughout their life. Children who learn proper oral hygiene at a young age are less likely to develop cavities, tooth decay, and other common dental problems as they grow older. When teaching your kids about dental care, make sure they understand why these practices are important. If they know the benefits, they may have an easier time complying when they get older.
Lead By Example
If your child sees you brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly, they'll quickly learn the importance of great oral health. Children mimic their parents and other adults in their lives. And they're constantly learning and growing from those around them. So it's important for kids to see you practicing good oral hygiene habits so they can adopt them themselves. Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases in children, so it's best to teach kids to brush and floss properly as early as possible.
To learn more, visit Wedgewood Dental offices at 713 Salem Avenue Suite A, Rolla MO 65401 or 1116 S. Main Street, Salem MO 65560. You can also reach us at (573)368-7325 or (573)729-7701.
713 Salem Avenue Suite A, Rolla MO 65401
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