Tips For Managing Dental Anxiety In Kids

Tips For Managing Dental Anxiety In Kids

Posted by San Pedro Pediatric Medical Group on Feb 17 2023, 10:31 PM

Children, especially young ones, are often frightened of going to the dentist. These fears range from a fear of loud noises or tools to the fear of something poking in their mouth to a fear of seeing blood. 

  • Many parents avoid taking their children for routine dental care due to anxiety and fear. If a child isn't exposed to dentistry early and regularly enough, they will likely grow up to be an adult with anxiety about going to the dentist. It's much better to start regular cleanings and checkups while children are young so they will get used to the process and have a positive attitude toward it. Here are some more tips for managing your child's dental anxiety.
  • When scheduling an appointment, try to avoid times when your child is hungry or tired. This will make them irritable and anxious. Try to schedule your appointments in the morning after breakfast and lunch when the stomach is full, and they're well rested.
  • Before the appointment, explain to the children what to expect at the dental office. Tell them about the noises they may hear from the drills or other equipment, as well as the smells. Let them know that the dentist may ask them to open their mouth wide when looking inside and that the hygienist will gently touch their teeth with a brush to clean them. Show them the tools they will be using and explain that they will be feeling some pressure as they clean their teeth. Talk to them about their fears and anxieties and let them know you are there to keep them safe and help them through the process.
  • You can also discuss a reward system ahead of time to help motivate them. The reward can be a small toy they enjoy or a sticker, or a small treat. Give them something to look forward to after the appointment is over.
  • During your appointment, bring something for your child to hold for comfort during the exam and cleanings. A favorite stuffed animal or blanket can help comfort a child who is nervous. Have an older child read to their younger sibling as a fun distraction during the procedure. You can also sing songs to them or play games together to pass the time as the procedure is being performed. If your child is old enough to understand the process, listen to their concerns and address them. Reas
  • Parents can encourage their children to practice excellent oral hygiene habits when at home by leading by example! Make sure you're setting a great example for your children by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. Follow a proper at-home oral health routine by using ADA-accepted toothpaste and mouthwash. Taking these steps will help keep your smile bright and healthy for years to come.

Call San Pedro Pediatric Medical Group at (310) 832-6487 or schedule an online appointment to learn more about taking care of your child's oral and dental health.

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