Proper oral care is extremely important for kids. Early intervention can help prevent a number of common issues as your child grows. Going to the dentist regularly can put your child on a path for a lifetime of good oral health. Unfortunately, many kids have anxiety about going to the dentist. This anxiety may be there because of a previous experience, fear of pain, or it could be general anxiety related to going into an unfamiliar situation. If your child is experiencing anxiety about going to dental appointments, there are some steps you can take to minimize that anxiety.
Keep going to routine dental visits
If you have a kid who is anxious about going to the dentist it can be tempting to simply reschedule the appointment for a later date. Skipping routine dental visits can lead to a cycle of issues that actually increase your child’s anxiety. Routine dental care helps minimize issues like decay and gum disease with thorough cleanings. And, the dentist will spot potential problems during those appointments. Skipping routine appointments can allow decay to develop and pain to worsen. At some point, your child will be experiencing enough discomfort that you have not choice but to visit the dentist. Then, the visit to the dentist will involve pain and potentially extensive dental work. This can heighten your child’s anxiety and confirm his or her fears about the dentist. You can avoid this negative cycle by consistently taking your child to routine dental visits. It is still possible that problems will arise but regular visits to the dentist will prevent them from becoming emergencies. In addition, the anxiety your child feels may lessen as he or she becomes more familiar with the process of going to the dentist.
Model good oral care for your kids
Another way to help your kids overcome anxiety about dental appointments is to model good oral care for them. Let your kids know when you are going to your own routine dental appointments. Make a point of letting your kids see you brushing and flossing. You can also choose a family dentist who can work with both you and the kids. Making appointments in the same day will allow your kids to see that you are going to the dentist as well and turn it into a shared experience. This feeling of being ‘in it together’ may help reduce some of the anxiety your child feels about going to the dentist.
Anxiety about going to the dentist is something that both kids and adults can experience. You have a unique opportunity as a parent to help your child overcome those anxieties before they turn into a lifelong avoidance of the dentist. If you are looking for a place that can treat the whole family and works regularly with anxious patients, consider Coral West Dental.