What is Dental Fear and Anxiety?
Dental fear and anxiety is the fear of or anxiety about going to the dentist. It exists in a lot of children and adolescents and is a major dilemma in a pediatric dental practice. Children can develop fear or anxiety about visiting the dentist, even before they’ve ever been to one.
How to prevent Dental Fear and Anxiety?
From a child’s point of view, a trip to the dentist can be a scary event — lying on a chair in an unfamiliar room filled with unfamiliar noises and objects, while a stranger is poking cold, metallic, and unusual instruments in his/her mouth. Small children often think going to the dentist will hurt, or they simply don’t know what to expect. Their fear can easily be managed by taking the following steps:
- Go to a Pediatric Dentist who is good with Children: Look for a dentist in your local community who can keep your child relaxed during dental treatments.
- Start your Child’s Dental Care Early: Make sure you start your child’s dental journey at an early age so that your child is at ease with the pediatric dentist.
- Be a Role Model: Take your child with you next time you have to go in for a routine cleaning. Let him or her watch the entire process, and talk to your child about what the dentist is doing. Smile while you’re getting examined and let your child know that a trip to the dentist is painless.
- Role Play: Sometimes acting out a situation helps your child to understand what goes on in a dental clinic. Let your child be the dentist and let them check the teeth of their stuffed animals. Keep talking to them and guiding them through the activity.
- Avoid using scary words: Always avoid using scary words like hurt, drill, pain – in front of your kids before going to the dentist as this can increase the fear in them. Make sure you talk to them about the good things.
- Use Positive Reinforcement: Tell your child about the benefits of going to the dentist like good strong teeth, beautiful smile. Make sure to answer all their questions calmly. Most pediatric dentists hand out stickers or small toys after a visit.
- Never bribe your child: Never ever bribe your child with special treats or sugary drinks for going to the dentist. This will lead to a bad habit and will instil deeper fear in your child.
- Make it a fun trip: Offer to take your child to a place they really love once the visit is over, like a toy store to pick out a small toy, a movie, or the bowling alley. Link going to the dentist with a fun event.
A thing to keep in mind
According to a survey published at National Library of Medicine, 90% of the children preferred their dentist to wear a white coat, while 40% preferred them to wear a mask and protective eyeglasses as protective measures during treatment. And also when asked about different clinical settings, 63% of the children indicated that they preferred a decorated dental clinic over a plain clinic.
Bakersfield Community Speaks
Have a look at our reviews to see what the community of Bakersfield is talking about us. One of our patients said this after their visit:
“My daughter has always had very high anxiety when going to the dentist. So much so that we have been turned away and dental offices have referred her out. I can’t even put into words how well today’s visit went. All the way home and even now continues to rave about them. Here are some of her comments, “that was so fun”, “I’m going to get cavities just to go back”, they’re my new besties”, “They changed my life”, “when do I get to go back.” As a mother, I am beyond relieved and grateful for our new dental office.”
Book a Dental Check-up for your child at Riar Dental Arts, your very own Family Dentist in Bakersfield CA.