How to Manage Child Dental Anxiety?

Young asian female stomatologist treating teeth of preschool pretty little girl, using tooth drill

Ever feel like not going to your dentist before your scheduled appointment? That could be the dental anxiety talking. Dental anxiety is when a person feels less enthusiastic when they are about to receive oral care. This can be a common feeling to experience before going to the dentist, and while you might think adults are the only ones experiencing this, children feel fear and stress, too. 

While you can reschedule dental check-ups due to the child’s dental anxiety, avoiding it altogether can be detrimental to the child’s oral health. If you’re a parent or guardian who is also worried that your child fears seeing their dentist and is seeking ways to help them ease their worries and manage dental anxieties, this blog is the key to your dilemma! This will give you a deeper understanding of dental anxiety, its causes, and some practical tips to help your little ones be calm and at peace when going to the dentist.

What is Dental Anxiety in Children?

If your child is experiencing nervousness and anxiousness before going to their dentist, most likely, they are experiencing dental anxiety. Dental anxiety in children is more common than you think. In fact, studies have shown that around 1 out of 10 children in Australia experience dental anxiety, usually manifested through crying, being clingy to the parents or guardian, or throwing a fit.

Whenever this occurs, the child, parents, and even the dentist can all be in a difficult situation to push through with the dental treatment itself. It becomes an episode of dental anxiety management. But how can we provide an effective dental anxiety treatment for the children? Understanding the causes or different factors why this occurs can help you find a way to address their concerns and provide support.

What causes dental anxiety in children: Factors to consider

Dental anxiety among children can be rooted in several factors. This includes:

  • When it’s the first time to be visiting the dentist, it’s more likely that your little one will get scared. Children may feel anxious about unfamiliar experiences and places, especially when they are about to undergo dental procedures. Failure to make them understand what will happen can be scary for young children.
  • If your child has had bad past experiences with their dentist, it may have left them with a vivid memory of the past treatment. This might have made them uncomfortable and anxious.
  • Typically, dental anxiety among children arises from the anticipation of pain that they may have to endure, making them terrified of visiting their dentist for an oral check-up.
  • Friends, family, and relatives may have expressed exaggeration over their past experiences when visiting their dentists. This attitude can also affect a child’s mindset before making it into the dentist’s office. 

How to Help Your Children with Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is said to be recognised as a public health concern. But as parent and guardian, there is nothing you wouldn’t try just to make everything more accessible and comfortable for your child. 

Here are some tips for you to do so the next dental appointment will be easier for your child.

Early intervention can be helpful

Introducing your child to the dentist at an early age will help them familiarise themselves with the environment of the dental clinic and build positive associations with the place.

Open communication is the key

Talk openly with your child about dental visits, addressing any concerns or fears they may have. It would also be helpful to talk positively about dental visits and how they can be good for their well-being instead of sharing negative experiences.

Choose the Right Dentist

Another reason why children get dental anxiety is because of their experience with their dentist. Look for a dentist who specialises in treating children with a friendly and gentle approach. The location and environment of the clinic are also important to make your child feel safe and comfortable. VIP Dental Clinic is a good example of a dental clinic that focuses on helping children feel at ease during a procedure.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Teach your child relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualisation to use during dental appointments. You can also use age-appropriate apps to help them feel safe and comfortable.

Offer Rewards

Make a deal with your child: encourage them with rewards or incentives when they show cooperative behaviour during dental visits. As simple as a popsicle at the end of the treatment can help them be patient and calm.

Lead by Example

Maintain a positive attitude towards dental visits and avoid expressing your own anxieties in front of your child, as it would make them feel worried. 

Empowering Your Child to Combat Dental Anxiety

Helping your child manage their dental anxiety requires patience, understanding, and support from you. Providing reassurance and implementing strategies to combat dental anxiety in children can help ease their worries and help them face dental visits with confidence and peace of mind. Always remember to create a positive attitude and supportive environment around them to help them feel secure and comfortable at the dentist.

Stop Your Child’s Dental Anxiety Now!

Let us help your child overcome their dental anxiety here at VIP Dental Clinic! Our experienced dentists can assist your child in conducting appropriate dental anxiety treatments that can make your little ones feel safe and sound. Call us at (02) 8381 0333 to book an appointment or visit our website to learn more. Your child’s smile and well-being are our priority!