While it’s hardly the most invasive or potentially painful medical profession in modern terms, dentophobia, or fear of dentists, is surprisingly common in today’s world. Between 9% and 20% of Americans fear going to the dentist and experience anxiety, panic, and even terror at the thought of entering a dentist’s office. This leads to oral health problems that are avoided until the resulting pain is simply too great to bear.
Young children are especially susceptible to developing fears of dental visits, even if their procedures are relatively basic or banal. By taking some precautions and communicating effectively with your child about their experience with the dentist, you can help ease their anxiety and leave the dentist’s office with smiles rather than tears.
– Start Early
Pediatric dental care is not only a good way to introduce your child to proper dental hygiene early, it can help catch dental problems before they become exasperated and problematic later in life. If you approach a trip to the dentist’s office as an annual event and with a positive attitude, your child will follow suit. If your child becomes apprehensive about a visit to the dentist, ask if you can bring your child along for another child’s dental checkup and see how the process normally goes.
– Avoid Bribery
Rewarding your child for good behavior at the dentist’s office may lead them to believe a visit to the dentist’s office is something to be avoided. Rather than offering something out of the ordinary, praise them after a positive experience at the dentist’s office and don’t forget to grab something from the dentist’s goodie pile.
– Stay Positive
Using phrases like “stay calm” or “don’t be afraid” will only increase your child’s fear. Furthermore, words like “shots” or “drills” may be too scary for your child – ask your dentist how to better describe their tools and processes to keep your child calm and secure throughout the visit.
If you need guidance on easing your child’s dentophobia or are looking for a positive, safe, and friendly environment in which to introduce your child to dental hygiene, schedule an appointment with the professional dentists at Avila Dental. Our North Seattle office is state-of-the-art, clean, and comfortable, providing a safe and secure environment for young children and adults alike. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Image source, labelled for reuse