Friday 22 April 2022

How to Ease Dental Anxiety in Children.

How To Ease Dental Anxiety In Kids

{Collaborative Content} Dental anxiety is a pretty common occurrence in children. The unexplained fear of dentists and what they do is the main fuel driving this anxiety. Available data indicates that the anxiety prevalence rate is up to 20%. Usually, the problem is more profound when the child's first appointment is after age six. What can you do to allay their fears and make your kids' dental appointments positive to help them adopt healthy oral habits? Below are some tips.

  1. Start dental habits as early as possible 

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As mentioned in the introduction, children who are introduced to the dentist's office later in life have a higher chance of developing this anxiety. The underlying reason is that when their cognition starts to improve from age six and above, it becomes difficult to convince them that the dentist won't hurt them. Moreover, they're likely to have friends from school who may have recounted unpleasant experiences at the dentist's office. For this reason, dentists recommend booking an appointment for your child when their primary teeth cut through the gum.

The dentist doesn't carry out any procedure at that age apart from checking the primary teeth and gums. However, that single pleasant appointment becomes a positive reference point in the child's mind. That way, subsequent visits will be without the well-known anxiety and fear. The familiarity of the dentist's office and the instruments there will cease to become fearsome for a young mind.

  1. Use role-play at home

You can never get enough of the cliché, 'children learn through play.' It is an absolute truth that many parents and guardians have used to their advantage. When easing dental anxiety in kids, you may want to start the process at home. Role-playing offers an opportunity to encourage your child to learn about what happens at the dentist's office. Playful routines help normalise what would have turned into full-blown dental anxiety on the appointment day. You may want to buy dentist play instruments for kids for the best results. Furthermore, it helps to intensify these at-home role play in the weeks leading to the actual appointment. As you take turns playing the role of dentist and patient, your child learns the basic processes to expect before the appointment day.

  1. Explain dental procedures ahead of time

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Apart from role-playing, another tip that works quite well is to directly educate them on the procedure they will get. For example, you can take the opportunity to explain professional teeth cleaning to your child. If your little one has a chipped tooth and you suspect that will be attended to, you can explain composite bonding to them. Again, if your child has some dental misalignment, it would be a great time to teach them about braces and the types available.

For all you know, your young ones have peers wearing some type of braces and already have a fair idea. However, it would be in your interest to discuss other options like the invisible braces. Your child may even think of them as cool and want one. By staying ahead of their expectations, you would have dealt with their dental anxiety.

Last but not least, help the dentist by providing some vital information about your child. For example, their favourite colours, best cartoon characters, preferred foods, etc., can be chatting points between the dentist and your child. This helps in building rapport between the two. You will be too when your child is relaxed at the dentist's office.

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