7 Ways to Prevent Your Kid's Dental Anxiety Before Their Next Appointment

When your kid has fear of the dentist, it isn’t just painful to watch – it can actually have a long-lasting, negative effect on their oral health. Studies show that kids who experience dental anxiety are more likely to avoid the dentist later in life, which increases their risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay, among other issues. In order to help reduce your child’s dental anxiety, you could try to employ these seven strategies before their next appointment.

1) Choose an Experienced Pediatric Dentist

Learning about good oral health is important for everyone, especially the little ones. Unfortunately, many parents do not pay enough attention towards oral hygiene when kids are the most receptive to it: At a very young age! Pediatric dentistry is not about a beautiful smile (yet), it's way more than just that. 
Dr. Cameron Zealand at North Calgary Pediatric Dentistry: 
"Pediatric dentistry is about educating children about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene, and how important it is for the rest of your life. This should be a two-way street between the dentist and the parents. 
1: As paediatric dentists, we do our part by transferring our knowledge to the parents and child in our kids dental clinics. 
2: From there, the parents need to make the effort to ensure that good oral habits happen at home as well. They also need to communicate that a child's dental experience can be positive, rewarding and fun.

At our North Calgary Pediatric Dental Office, we've made the ambience as fun as can be. We've decorated our office with bright colours, made some toys and games available, while our kids-friendly staff helps to make your child feel as comfortable as possible. Each member of our dental team knows how important it is to help each kid stay calm and relaxed before seeing the dentist. And even when your kid is still a little bit afraid —  no worries, we can always find other ways to make them feel comfortable, together with you."

Pediatric dentistry has come a long way in recent years. Our child-friendly dental clinic provides the latest techniques and procedures to ensure the most pleasant experience possible for our young patients. Did you know that pediatric dentist training (besides the dental side) involves child psychology, behaviour analysis, and managing children specifically? A pediatric dentist is, without exaggeration, a specialist in handling all aspects of a child’s oral health and well-being.

Experience it yourself at our kids dental clinic in Calgary NE/NW. Make an appointment today.

2) Talk About Going to the Dentist in a Positive Way

Children commonly experience fear and stress surrounding doctor’s or dentist's appointments, so you're not alone. Many adult patients also struggle with this problem but with children, psychological stressors are often more overwhelming.
Your child might be anxious because they don’t understand why they need the procedure or what good it would do for them. To prevent confusion and fear, choose your words wisely when speaking to your child about an upcoming visit to the dentist. Don't use terms such as 'pain' or 'needle'. Pinpointing the wrong words can be difficult for a child. 
Nevertheless, speak honestly to your child. Although you want to make sure your child feels secure, you also want to make sure they are aware of what’s happening around them. Avoid lying to your child about where you’re going when it’s time to visit the dentist.

3) Create a Good Dental Routine at Home

Develop good dental habits by creating a clear routine around oral health. Have your child brush its teeth at a specific time of the day. Talk about the purpose of dental visits and how it can help them to keep their teeth in good condition. Counter negative feelings with an empathetic attitude and positive reinforcement. Show them yourself 'how to brush your teeth properly' and be an example to them. Find pictures online of kids with bad teeth and tell them about the consequences. 

4) Make Sure Your Kid Is Comfortable During a Dental Appointment

Every parent can help their children with dental anxiety by making sure they are as comfortable as possible during the appointment. First, consider 'Why' your child is afraid of the dentist. Is it the fear of the unknown? Fear of needles? Fear of pain? Once the reason for fear is established, try to find words that make their fear unnecessary. Providing distractions and relaxation techniques can also help a lot. E.G.: 

Bring a comfort item: 
Allow your child to hold their favourite stuffed toy or blanket during the procedure. 

Be present: 
Simply reminding them of your presence can help.

Sensory distraction: 
Let them listen to music during treatment.

At any rate, repeat that a good thing (the dentist visit) is happening: It will help to maintain healthy teeth. 

5) Explain What the Dentist Will Be Doing

Clarity is always preferable over the unknown. So be strong and firm. Some parents will cave in when their child is in distress, leading to delayed care and repeated patterns of behavior. Set a good example by bringing your child to the appointment and keep your positive attitude. You can also show you care through verbal affirmations and praise.

6) Reward Them After the Appointment

The thought of needing a dental procedure can cause an emotional response that is difficult to control for a child. Managing these symptoms can become more difficult if they are allowed to progress into adolescence. Managing dental anxiety — also called 'Dentophobia' — in children is obviously easier to address when it doesn't continue into adulthood.

When your child has lived through a fearful appointment, reward your kid consciously. Knowing that something good can come out of a difficult experience, could make them feel stronger the next time.

7) Tell Us How You Feel. We Can Help.

Raising kids is never easy and we realize that 'One Fits All' solutions don't exist with a child’s dental anxiety. All kids are different, and should be treated different accordingly. When you've tested and tried some of our recommendations and they don't work the way you expected, please don't become desperate. Communicate your feelings and experiences with our dental team. Let us know in advance when your child had a past negative experience or has a response to certain triggers that could make their dental anxiety in Calgary NE worse. Keep us informed about how your child feels, so our staff can help to gauge the situation in advance and provide proper assistance and care.
If you have any questions about How to Help Your Child With Fear for the Dentist, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Cameron Zealand at North Calgary Pediatric Dentistry. Make an appointment today!

Make an appointment today!

Pediatric (kids) dentist in Calgary NE and NW

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This site is machine-translated from English, and may have errors in translating the information from English to the language you have chosen. This translation service is provided to encourage communications between the reader and North Calgary Pediatric Dentistry and will not be perfect. There may be errors in the translation including missing or added words, or poor translation of a dental related term or concept. The best way to obtain complete information is to contact us directly. Your questions are welcome, please feel free to contact us. Services are provided in English.

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