Fearless Dentistry: Tactics to Help Your Child Overcome Dental Anxiety

Kids don't have to live with dental anxiety.

There’s no need to be anxious over a dental visit!

If your child is feeling some anxiety over visiting the team at Davis Family Dental Care, there is no need for them to experience any anxiety or fear. Our team is here to make your child feel safe and welcome during their visit to our Bedford, Texas office.

Dental Anxiety Explained

Anxiety can be described as stress or fear of something, often the unknown. Dental anxiety, therefore, is the fear of visiting the dentist. While most children have no fear of the dentist, there are a handful who can feel fearful or unsure of visiting the dentist, especially the first time. 

Sometimes, a child can get their anxieties from a parent or child who has dental anxiety. Other times, dental anxiety can be linked to a memory of a previously painful or traumatizing dental visit or even a lack of preparation for a first dental visit. Some children find the sights, sounds, and smells of the dental office off-putting and unfamiliar, which can lead to their anxiety, as well.

Dental anxiety is common.

If you think your child is the only one who is anxious about visiting the dentist, you’re wrong. Some studies say 10% of children experience some level of dental anxiety, while a study in South India found that over 60% of children who participated in one survey responded that they had severe dental anxiety. Most of the surveys found that females tend to have more dental anxiety than males, and the younger the child is, the more fear they have of the dentist. This could be in part because visiting the dentist is a new experience for younger children, who have nothing to compare the visit to.

Understanding your child’s fears.

One of the best ways to understand your child’s dental anxiety is by communication. Talk to your child about why they are scared of visiting the dentist. Sometimes, children have anxiety about something because they don’t know what to expect or understand what will be happening to them while they are at the dentist. Have an open and honest discussion about what happens at the dentist and why dental visits are important to your child’s overall dental health. Make sure to explain that preventative checkups are important so that cavities or other dental issues don’t transpire.

There are many books that you and your child can read that explain what happens at the dentist, like The Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain, or Daniel Goes To The Dentist by Alexandra Cassel Schwartz. If your child is a visual learner, check out a video explanation of what happens at the dentist. If your child’s anxiety about visiting the dentist persists, let the Davis Family Dental Care team know at your appointment, and we can give your child a full explanation of what is happening during their appointment, including a show and tell of the dental tools before they are used.

Provide a distraction.

While you are at Davis Family Dental Care, your child may benefit from a distraction while they are in the dentist’s chair. Some children will appreciate mellowing out to some of their favorite music, so offering them a headset loaded with their favorite songs can help your child find some comfort in an unfamiliar situation. Some children prefer something they can focus on, so bringing an iPad or tablet that has their favorite cartoon or show on it to their dental appointment may reduce their anxiety. 

While some children prefer music, a show, or a game to distract them, other children just need an item of comfort with them during their dental appointments. If it will help your child stay calm, allow them to bring along their favorite stuffed animal or blanket as a source of comfort during their dental appointment.

Use a relaxation exercise.

Sometimes, a relaxation exercise or breathing technique can help your child manage their dental anxiety. There are many different breathing techniques that your child can try, and all of these techniques have the same goal of helping to keep your child calm. If your child is a little bit older and understands meditation, have them use their meditation skills to focus on being calm during their dental evaluation.

Schedule your appointment at Davis Family Dental Care!

Once you’ve talked to your child about their dental anxiety and your child has learned about ways to cope with their anxiety, you’re ready to schedule your biannual dental evaluation at Davis Family Dental Care. Remember, it is okay to feel a little anxious about heading to the dentist, and if you are, be sure to let the team know so they can take extra care of your child during their visit.