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Stress-Free Dentistry for Kids: 5 Techniques for a Smooth Visit

For many people, going to the dentist isn’t their favorite activity. But for some, especially children, feelings towards a dental appointment extend past dislike.

In simple terms, dental anxiety (also known as dentophobia) is the fear of receiving or even seeking dental care. Dental fear and anxiety often begin at an early age and can stem from many things:

  • Fear of potential pain
  • A sense of loss of control or feeling trapped in the dentist’s chair
  • Embarrassment of noticeable or severe dental issues
  • Trauma from previous negative experiences at the dentist’s office

It’s essential to address dentophobia as quickly as possible or attempt to prevent it altogether to avoid more serious issues later in life. Many people who suffer from dental anxiety will avoid routine care or refuse to undergo certain necessary procedures, which can be detrimental to their oral health.

Fortunately, there are ways to help make going to the dentist an easy, stress-free experience for your child.

1. Commence regular dentist appointments from an early stage.

You can start taking your child to the dentist once their first teeth come in. If dental checkups are part of a familiar routine that has been in place from early in their life, they are less likely to experience dental anxiety.

2. Make sure they know about their upcoming visits to the dentist.

Giving your child a heads-up about their dentist appointment gives them time to prepare and ask questions. Make sure to take the time to hear and answer all their questions. Knowing what to expect from their appointment can make the experience less scary for them.

3. Find a dentist that your child feels comfortable with.

Thoroughly research dentists in your area and, if possible, find reviews from past or current patients. There might be a trial and error process in finding a dentist that your child likes and trusts. One way to make this process quicker and easier is by finding a pediatric dentist who specializes in children’s oral care rather than a general dentist, as we have at our Tiny Teeth Kid’s Dentistry & Orthodontics practices. 

4. Teach your child techniques to cope with anxiety before dental appointments.

If your child is nervous about their upcoming appointment or has had dental anxiety in the past, teach them ways to manage their anxiety. Options that work well for children include breathing exercises or the 3-3-3 exercise (having them focus on three things they can see, three things they can hear, and three body parts they can move). Toys like fidget spinners can also help keep their mind occupied during a stressful situation.

5. Be present alongside your child during the dental appointment.

Staying in the room with your child during the exam, cleaning, or procedure can offer them a sense of familiarity and comfort. If they need extra support, you can hold their hand or talk to them while the dentist is working.

Ready to uncover the ideal dentist for your child’s dental care?

Tiny Teeth Kid’s Dentistry & Orthodontics is here to support your child in their dental care journey. We’re proud to have a team of pediatric dental experts who can make visiting the dentist a positive experience for your child. Visit our website to book an appointment today.