If you think back to the time when you were a child, you will likely recall you had at least a little bit of dental anxiety. Dental anxiety in youngsters is perfectly normal up until the tween/teen years. However, some kids are absolutely petrified of their upcoming dental appointment. In fact, some argue extreme dental anxiety in youngsters is a significant public health problem. If your little ones do not receive timely dental treatment, they will be that much more likely to experience oral health problems in the coming years. Implement the strategies outlined below to help your child overcome dental anxiety.
Explain what happens in the dentist’s chair
If a child knows what to expect during his or her upcoming treatment, the appointment will prove that much easier. parents need to give their youngster as much information about the appointment as possible. Try to help the child anticipate the upcoming treatment or procedure and it will not seem as intimidating.
Parents can also describe the sensations the child will experience during treatment. In fact, certain parents go as far as having the dentist demonstrate the steps of the treatment or procedure on them so the child can observe what it will be like.
It is okay for the child to ask about taking a break
Parents can also speak with their child’s dentist and the child before the appointment begins. Both parties should be clear of the signal that indicates the procedure should be temporarily halted. Thus, if a child experiences pain or needs a break to spit out excess saliva, all he or she has to do is give the signal and the dentist will pause. This ability to control the situation will put the child at ease.
Bring a fun activity or favorite toy
If a child enjoys video games, watching Netflix or playing basketball with his or her friends, then parents can use this natural interest as an advantage. By letting the child partake in his or her favorite activity prior to the dental appointment, parents will find it makes the procedure that much smoother. In fact, some orthodontists have video games and TVs set up in their lobbies as playing games like Mario Kart puts youngsters at ease before upcoming treatments.
Dangle the carrot of positive reinforcement
Give the child something to look forward to for cooperating during the dental procedure or treatment. If he or she makes it through the appointment without putting up a fuss or crying, provide a reward such as extra time on the computer, a new video game, dinner at the family’s favorite restaurant or something else the child will love. If the child knows a reward awaits, making it through an intimidating dental procedure will prove that much easier.
Choose the proper dentist
Finding the right dentist is essential to the child’s comfort while receiving dental treatment. A dentist who is comfortable working with children, especially children who fear dental procedures, will make the little one’s appointments that much easier.
The dentist you select should have extensive experience working with youngsters who are plagued by dental anxiety. Furthermore, the dentist should be willing to sit and talk with the child for a brief amount of time prior to the procedure.
For more information call Smiles By Julia at (954) 281-1231.
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