It is estimated that five percent of the population struggle with dental anxiety, a fear of going to the dentist. The issue can be even worse for children who feel less in control of the process.
The problem with dental anxiety is that your child will protest about going to the dentist. This can lead to issues with getting them to the dentist and missed appointments. Unless dealt with the anxiety will continue into adult life.
Unfortunately, missing dental appointments means you’re more likely to have oral health issues. Research also suggests that oral health and your overall health are linked, anxiety over visiting the dentist can actually increase the risk of many diseases.
That’s why you need to take these 5 steps today.
1.Choose The Right Dentist
A good pediatric dentist will understand the issues facing children and be able to help you guide them through their anxiety. They will take the visit slowly and talk to your child through each step of the journey.
This can help the children to accept that the dentist isn’t so scary and is trying to help them. That’s a big step toward overcoming anxiety.
2.Keep Them Informed
Your child is curious and intelligent. Let them know about what the dentist does as early as possible. When you’re booking an appointment talk to your child to ensure you have an appointment time that suits them.
Make sure they are informed about every step of the process, your dentist will help with this. The key is to ensure your child has an element of control. If they feel they are in control of the process it is much more difficult to be anxious about it.
3.Visit In Advance
To help beat anxiety you should take your child to the dentist before their appointment. You can either simply visit and sit in the waiting room for a short while, or you can take them into one of your appointments.
This will help them to see there is nothing to fear. Or, if they are concerned about anything they’ll have the opportunity to talk about it with you before they go themselves.
A good way of helping them overcome their dental anxiety is to praise them at every step of the way You can even promise them a treat afterward, although a sugary treat may not be the most appropriate.
If your child is being praised constantly it will be difficult for them to feel the dentist was a bad experience.
If your child is still really struggling with the thought of going to the dentist then you need to teach them some simple relaxation techniques. In essence, they need to take slow, long breathes. Inhaling and exhaling deeply will calm their mind and help them to focus on something other than the dentist.
They can also tense and relax different muscles in a set sequence. Concentrating on this will distract them from other thoughts and ease their tension.
Remember, in most cases, you only have to get them to go a few times and they’ll overcome their anxiety. The dentist really isn’t that bad.