Tips For Managing Dental Anxiety

Managing Dental Anxiety

Nearly 20% of children have anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist. Many dentists find a fearful child more difficult to treat with proper dental care. There are however, ways to managing dental anxiety in children that will help make visits to the dentist a breeze! Check out the tips below:

The More They Know

Most children are great at learning new things.  Be sure both you, the parent/guardian and the dentist explains what is going to happen before they get in the chair. Being clear of procedures and even performing a “show and tell” or what will happen is a great way to relieve their stress and manage dental anxiety. The more they know, the easier it will be for them to relax, which brings us to our second tip.


There are many relaxation methods to choose from! Meditation and breathing techniques are great tools for any child in any situation. Focusing on ones breath, both inward and outward can be very calming. Encouraging them to empty their thoughts or to focus on something that makes them happy or a favorite place or person, while they are breathing will help to relax and redirect the mind. Or walking them through relaxing muscle groups from toe to head and back down again. Have them concentrate on each area of their body and release all tension they hold there.


Conversation is another great way to help a child relax. Talking about a subject as simple as something the child accomplished that was at first hard for them, something they are proud of or something they are looking forward to both prior to and during the procedure will help to distract their minds.


Positive reinforcement in the way of praise or even small tangible rewards is another great tool for alleviating fears. If the child can focus some tangible yet small reward to work towards it will make it easier to get through the procedure.

Parental Involvement

Many times children will feel more at ease with their parent nearby or sitting next to them. This strategy really only works if the parent themselves do not experience dental anxiety. It is important to be a model of how to act at the dentist for your child, so they will feel comfortable and respond accordingly.

Managing Dental Anxiety Win

The use of several or all of these tips will make managing dental anxiety for your child’s next visit to the dentist nearly stress free! Most children realize after the fact the procedures are not even close to how scary they imagined them to be.

Services For Our Special Needs Patients

Our pediatric dentists are trained to treat special needs patients, including medically or physically compromised and very young children. These patients may need special aids in accomplishing their dental treatment. We offer nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation and in some cases, general anesthesia. Pediatric anesthesiologists from Children’s Hospital, Oakland, come into our office on specific days and administer general anesthesia. This is a great advantage when medically compromised or young children need extensive treatment and are unable to cooperate.

Please feel free to contact us so that we can discuss your child’s individual needs.

There are some saints out there! Mothers, fathers and foster parents who care for extremely disabled and medically compromised children never cease to amaze us with their patience , devotion and love. Our whole staff is humbled by these exceptional people.

Source: Dentistry Today

For more articles on dental health, see our main blog

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