If you’re struggling with your child’s anxiety when it comes to dental appointments, you’re not alone. In fact, far from it. 16% of school-age children have a fear of the dentist, and that’s almost one in five. The best way to ease their fears is to find a children’s dentist that can make them feel comfortable.
So how exactly can a dentist do that?
Here are some of the things they can do, and what you should look for.
Provide Office Distractions
If your child is sitting in a waiting room with nothing to look at or do, their dental anxiety has the chance to deepen. By the time they’re called into the dentist’s room, their fear may have actually gotten worse.
Look for an office where distractions are provided. Many dental offices provide toys for younger children and magazines for older ones. They may even have movies or TV shows playing that they can watch.
Office distractions are key in making your child forget what they were scared of in the first place!
The best pediatric dentist will explain things to your child as they go. Working in silence may only increase the dental fear your child is experiencing, so talking to them during the process can really help.
For example, they may explain each instrument before they put it into the child’s mouth. They can also reassure them that each one won’t hurt if that’s what the child is specifically afraid of.
Have a Calm and Friendly Manner
Having a calm and friendly manner is key in pediatric dentistry — not just for the dentist, but for all the staff.
If the staff seems uptight and unwelcoming, children can pick up on this mood. They’re smarter than we give them credit for!
All of the staff should greet your child with a smile and expertly maintain that balance between warm and professional. There’s no shame in finding a different pediatric dentistry office if you don’t get a good feeling from the first one you try.
Sometimes it takes a while to find the right fit for you and your child, and that’s okay!
Have a Television or Music Playing
Having a television or music playing in the actual room where the examination is happening can be immensely helpful. It gives the child something to focus on that isn’t the process of the examination itself.
If there isn’t a television or audio device in the room, you can offer the child the chance to put earphones in. Many kids will gladly jump at the chance to have their favorite music playing in their ear while you examine them, particularly slightly older children.
It can also help to have pictures or artwork on the walls to look at during the examination.
Don’t Rush the Child
The worst thing a dentist could do is rush the child through the appointment. They should leave plenty of time between patients, so there’s time to ease the child’s dental fear.
If it seems like the dentist is growing impatient and can’t really be bothered to be there, this can be a real issue. It’ll make the child increasingly tense and may make their anxiety that much worse.
Ensure you’re both comfortable and the dentist is making you both feel at home!
If your child’s dental anxiety is quite extreme, sedation is always an option.
Parents are often concerned about sedation and how safe it is for their children. What are the chances of something going wrong?
Not much! Regulations are in place across the country whenever there is any sedation involved, especially anesthesia. The level of sedation your child requires will very much depend on the procedure being done and their anxiety level, but the dentist should follow the correct safety measures either way.
A good dental team will evaluate your child and help you work out the best option. For light work, a mild sedative may be best, which will simply make your child happy and relaxed. For more intense work, general anesthesia may be the best option to allow the child to miss the experience completely and the dentist to do their best work.
Work With You
The best pediatric dentist should work closely with you to determine the best things that will help your child. They can work to explain things to both you and the child and share whatever information you think is appropriate.
If you call and talk to them beforehand, they should be willing to listen!
If more measures are needed, such as sedation, they’ll also be able to determine the appropriate kind after an evaluation.
All in all, they should know that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to children and they should take the time to find out what works for you and your child.
A Good Children’s Dentist Will Help
You may feel trapped when it comes to your child’s fear of the dentist. You may not have taken them in a while, or you may be pushing through appointments with gritted teeth, thinking there’s no way to calm them down.
Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case. A good children’s dentist will look at the many ways they can help you and take the time to implement those measures. All you have to do is communicate the child’s anxiety and let them work with you to make the dentist’s office a more relaxing venture.
For a trusted pediatric dentist office in Suwanee that’s ready to help with anxious children, schedule an appointment today!