Dental Anxiety in Children

How You Can Help

My Child is afraid to come to the dental office:

Dental anxiety is normal and healthy. However, many children are overly fearful of unknown situations.  Below are some helpful steps you can take to prepare your child for a dental visit.

My child is anxious. Am I making it worse?

Children are sensitive and may pick up on anxiety you have concerning your own dental visits Be mindful of your words, attitudes, and behaviors when speaking to your child, or speaking to others in your child’s presence.

How can I help?

The visit begins at home.

  • Always speak positively about going to the dentist (i.e.  “My teeth feel so nice and clean after going to the dentist!” or “I’m so thankful there are dentists to help us keep our teeth strong and healthy!”)

Prepare your child: Predictability = Security.

Read your child a book before going to the dentist office.  (See recommended book list)

  • Incorporate  “Structured Doll Play” with your child. This daily activity helps your child feel prepared and at ease prior to dental appointments. (See directions for Structured Doll Play).
  • Schedule a tour of our clinic before your child’s first appointment.
  • If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s appointment, please feel free to give us a call.

What can I say if my child tells me he or she is scared to go to the dentist?

Here are some examples of how you can respond:

  • I understand you are scared.  Lots of kids feel scared at first.  Let’s read this book about going to the dentist so you’ll know what to expect.
  • I get it you are nervous.  Let’s get out characters and act out a scene of what going to the dentist will be like for you! (See directions for Structured Doll Play.)
  • I can see you are scared.  Why don’t you bring your favorite stuffed animal (doll, toy) with you? You can hold it close while you are at the dentist office.

Some anxiety about going to the dentist office is normal. We do our best to make your child’s experience positive. If you are unable to calm your child and feel your child’s anxiety is more serious, please consult with a mental health professional that specializes in working with children.

source: “Dental Anxiety In Children.” Frisco Kids Dentistry,  Web. Oct. 21st, 2017.

For more articles on dental health, see our main blog page.

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