Dentophobia is an intense fear of dentists. While many adult patients experience some level of dental anxiety (about 35%, according to one report), some adults struggle with an intense fear of dentists to the point where they avoid dental visits altogether.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that visiting the dentist can be a source of anxiety for children. However, suppose your child is afraid of visiting the dentist. In that case, they’re in good company, and thankfully there are several ways to help ease your child’s anxiety and ensure their dental visit is comfortable.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety includes any generalized or acute anxiety about visiting the dentist, including potential treatments, and fear around the concept of dentists and dental practices. One of the primary issues with dental anxiety is it can prevent pediatric patients from getting the dental care they need to keep their teeth healthy, leading to increased dental problems later in life.
Why Is My Child Afraid of the Dentist?
One of the things that may add to your child’s dental anxiety is the fear of the unknown. However, studies have shown that early dental appointments in a child-friendly, welcoming dental environment may help reduce the risk of developing dental anxiety.
Another thing that might contribute to your child’s dental anxiety is not understanding why certain things or treatments are happening at the dentist. For example, children who expect a dental visit to be painful may also worry about dental visits.
Choosing the Right Dentist Can Help
Finding a pediatric dentist who creates a family-friendly dental environment can help ease your child’s dental anxiety. A good pediatric dentist will take the time to make your child feel comfortable and work within their comfort zone to introduce new treatments and experiences. Pairing with an accredited pediatric dentist can ensure your child gets the care they need and help encourage good dental habits that will last a lifetime.
Set Clear Expectations and Make Regular Dentist Visits
Another way to help reduce your child’s dental anxiety is to tell them what will happen at the visit. Letting your child know what they should expect will take some of the fear out of their stay and help them feel involved in their dental care. You should also make visiting the dentist a regular part of your routine. Not only is this an essential part of oral health, but it can also help adjust nervous children to routine dental visits and help them know what to expect ahead of time.
If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist, check out Southbridge Dentistry. Our team of accredited professionals can help create a treatment plan for your child that reduces overall anxiety and teaches them that maintaining good oral health is nothing to fear. In addition, we work closely with parents and guardians of young children to help plan dental care visits that fit their unique needs. To find out more, or to schedule an appointment, call us at (303) 798-4967.