Dental Checkup Time? Addressing Dental Anxiety in Kids

kidAs a parent, you spend most of your time watching over your child or children, including keeping track of and scheduling dental checkups. While it is completely understandable why kids do not want to go to the dentist, it is indeed necessary for their good oral health. Because dentists recommend kids come in for a dental checkup every six months, it is in every parent's best interest to do everything they can to make their kid more comfortable when it comes time to go see the dentist.

Importance of regular dental checkups for kids

When a child visits us for a dental checkup, we are able to check for any oral health issues that may need some attention. These issues can include cavities or jaw issues. While the dental checkup can be fairly quick, we are thorough. We will also help the child feel more comfortable.

A dental checkup also includes professional teeth cleaning, which is necessary to remove the accumulation of any plaque or tartar buildup that may be present. Without these regular checkups, the child is at a much greater risk of infection and oral health issues. However, not all children are comfortable with visiting the dentist.

Fortunately, parents do not need to worry, as we have a few tips to help children deal with dental anxiety. When children have questions about what they can expect when going to the dentist, it is important to provide answers that are honest and to the point.

Addressing children and dental anxiety

While every child needs to go to the dentist on a regular basis, the majority of children tend to express some form of dental anxiety. parents can help deal with that dental anxiety by

  • Acknowledging feelings
  • Preparing ahead of time
  • Getting the child involved
  • Introduce the child to the dental staff

Acknowledge feelings

The first and most important thing parents can do is to not dismiss the child's feelings. Instead, acknowledge that the anxiety is indeed real. By acknowledging the child's feelings, the child will be more likely to listen to the parents try to calm the child down. The parent needs to communicate that while going to the dentist can feel overwhelming, that it is not so bad. Parents can also mention that while many people do not like the dentist, the dental checkups are crucial for one's health.

Preparation

Preparing children for their dental checkup will help ease any anxiety they may be feeling, as there will be no surprises. Let them know exactly what to expect while keeping the major details to a minimum. An example is describing how the dentist will use certain dental tools on the teeth to help check that the teeth are healthy. Parents can also let children know that they can ask the dentist any questions they have, which helps them to feel in control of the situation.

Get the child involved

Offering children the ability to be involved throughout the entire process helps give them the confidence they need to feel safe and secure. This also helps them feel like they are in control. Kids can help make the appointment, count down the days until appointment day, and even choose something special to do once the dental checkup is done.

Introduce the child to the staff

Introduce the child to the employees at the dentist office and help make the environment familiar. Introducing the dental team as moms and dads who have their own kids at home makes them real people, and not just strangers working at the dentist office.

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