Some people experience anxiety when going to the dentist. This fear can be due to many reasons, such as unfamiliarity with a procedure or the anticipation of pain from anesthetic. If your child is incredibly nervous about dental visits, it's a good idea to seek out a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists specialize in childcare and have extra training that's recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA). Here are some ways to help your child reduce his or her anxiety.
Find An Office With A Therapy Dog
Many offices are hosting therapy dogs that can rest on patients' laps while they undergo procedures. Nervous children will be more distracted and calmer since they will have a dog to pet. While these dogs cannot be in the room for major surgical procedures, they are great options if your child just needs a cleaning or a simple restoration.
Attend A Pediatric Office With An Open-Bay Concept
Open-bay offices are great, since they don't force children to feel trapped or confined to a room. Also, open-bay offices allow children to see other children undergoing the same procedures.
Set A Good Example
If you have a dental phobia yourself, you may inadvertently be passing that on to your child. While you may not like visiting the dentist yourself, do your best to stay positive and calm when visiting the office. You may want to check some books out from the library about dental visits so your child knows what to expect.
If your child hasn't seen a dentist for a while, make sure that you don't schedule a long appointment if he or she needs restorations. It's best to break up appointments if you can, so that your child doesn't get overwhelmed or feel blindsided if he or she needs fillings for cavities.
Bring A Weighted Blanket
Some pediatric offices offer blankets, but if not, ask if you can bring your own. Weighted blankets are great for anxiety since they provide deep-pressure touch stimulation (DPTS). DPTS is a kind of therapy that can help calm hyperactive children. Weighted blankets apply a gentle pressure, similar to giving a hug, that actually relaxes the nervous system.
Ask About Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous oxide, or "laughing gas," is a depressant drug that can calm the body's responses. But unlike general anesthesia, there are fewer side effects; and, your child doesn't have to be put under. Since children can be sensitive to medications, nitrous oxide can be a good choice since recovery times are much faster than other sedation methods.
Contact a pediatric dentist in your area today for more tips on reducing dental anxiety.
I grew up in a home with parents who did not insist on good dental hygiene. By the time I was old enough to know better, some damage had already been done. I had many cavities, crooked teeth, and some discoloration on my teeth. I knew it would not be easy to take my smile from where it was to where it is today, but I was determined to finally have nice teeth. I visited a dentist who was very nice and never judged me. We made a dental plan together. Spreading the procedures out over time made it much easier to afford them. I now have almost perfect teeth after all that hard work! I created this blog to help others who have dental problems that stem from bad childhood habits know there is hope! It is never too late to start seeing the dentist!