Dental anxiety is a fear of visiting the dentist. It affects people of all ages. It’s estimated that more than 20 percent of adults avoid the dentist because of anxiety. However, dental anxiety is most common in children. Experts estimate that between 15 and 20 percent of children avoid the dentist because of anxiety. Dental anxiety often starts when kids are young. That’s especially true for children who experience negative dental visits.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all children visit the dentist by the age of one. Early oral examinations allow dentists to monitor the development of an infant’s teeth and jaws, as well as to address any oral health concerns before they develop into more serious complications later in life. If your child is over the age of three and has never experienced an interaction with the dentist, it’s time to schedule their first visit. At the same appointment, your child will start to establish a relationship with their dentist that may help alleviate the anxiety associated with future appointments.
When your child has his or her first dental exam, it’s important not to stress them out! This experience can be scary to young kids because they don’t understand what’s happening. They may see the dentist as an enemy who is hurting them and making them cry. To avoid this negative association, make sure your child’s first visit is enjoyable and positive. (And don’t skip out on regular appointments either – this can backfire on you when your child receives their first cavity filled at age five instead of a more simple one at an earlier age).
Have a positive attitude about the upcoming checkup when you tell your child about it. Don’t scare them with stories of painful checkups from your own childhood. Instead, make it a fun event that they get to look forward to. Find a good new toothbrush to use for the occasion.
Lead By Example
When parents take their child to the pediatric dentist’s office regularly from a young age, they instill positive associations with dental care that help children feel comfortable about the experience in the future. Additionally, kids learn the importance of taking care of their teeth by watching their parents brush and floss their own teeth every day. Parents who haven’t visited a dentist in years should schedule an appointment for themselves and their children so they can both receive necessary care while establishing a positive routine for future visits.
Take A Distraction
And if your child is nervous about their appointment, try taking their favorite stuffed animal for support and distract them by reading their favorite story as they sit in the chair. A pediatric dentist offers an environment that is welcoming to children and helps put them at ease during every appointment. Every pediatric dental office has a waiting room designed especially for younger patients featuring a colorful mural or fun display. Patients can also enjoy a toy box filled with plush toys and books to pass the time before their checkup begins.
Read Stories Or Play Games Involving Dentist Visits
If your children are not particularly excited about their visit to the dentist, encourage them to read books about dentists and office visits. The Berenstain Bears Go To The Dentist teaches young children that the dentist is a friend, not a scary person whose purpose is to be mean.
Reading books like this can help your child learn more about the dental office and cut down on anxiety. Additionally, playing pretend games can also help ease your son or daughter’s nerves. Give them a toy stethoscope and a toothbrush, and let them pretend to be a dentist! This can help them get over their fears before an actual visit ever has to happen.
Help your children have fun with oral care practices by reading books about dental care, and playing pretend games with them. These tips can help make teeth cleaning fun for everyone in your family.
Teach Kids The Importance Of Great Oral Health
It’s important to teach your child the importance of oral health while they’re still young. That can begin as soon as they get their first tooth!
Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing once a day will help your child’s teeth stay healthy and strong. You can also take them to see a dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and checkups. That way, you can rest easy knowing that they’re doing everything they can to protect their teeth.
Good oral hygiene habits will help prevent tooth decay and other common dental problems. Once they’re older, they’ll be more likely to continue these practices throughout their life.
To learn more about our dental services or to schedule your appointment with our Dentist in Colorado Springs, CO, call us at (719) 374-5496 or visit our dental office located at 1359 Interquest Pkwy Suite 100, Colorado Springs, CO 80921.