Pediatric Dentistry |4 min read

How to Handle Dental Anxiety in Children

School-aged child girl smiling and pointing to her teeth at the dentist’s office

You know your little one needs that fillingThis link leads to Childrens’ Dental Services page.

But how can you convince them when they shudder hearing the word “dentist?”

Preventative careThis link leads to Childrens’ Dental Services page can save them the burden of a more intensive procedure like an extraction.

However, what do you do when they throw a fit before every dental cleaning?

As a parent, you may feel as much stress about getting your anxious child to the dentist as they feel.

Nevertheless, we partner with parents and provide our services with children in mind.

We ensure those little ones receive the dental care they need despite any fears or anxiety because easing dental anxiety in children is possible in most cases.

But there are some steps you can take as a parent as well.

1. Give them as much information as possible

Think of how you’d feel doing something you’ve never tried before. You’d probably worry about all the unknowns.

Your child may feel this way about the dentist if they don’t know what to expect.

Therefore, prepare them by sharing information in a way they understand.

Let them know why the visit is beneficial and what they can expect throughout it.

2. Employ relaxation methods

Mother teaching her daughter how to meditate and deep breathe

Teach your child deep breathing to use at the dentist’s office.

They could also use this technique before leaving the house or on their way there.

This technique helps lower your little one’s heart rate and blood pressure. Both of these vital signs can rise during periods of stress.

It also can decrease stress hormone levels in their bloodstream.

Another helpful method is progressive muscle relaxationa technique they can use before arrival or during the visit.

For this, have your child repeatedly contract and relax one muscle group at a time.

A child’s stress can cause muscle tension, further exasperating the problem, but this technique can break that cycle.

Moreover, you’re teaching them to refocus with these methods.

3. Reinforce the positive

Your child may only concentrate on the negative aspects of the dentist, i.e., the numbing agent injection or the drill sound.

Help them associate the dentist with positives by noting the benefits, such as:

  • Healthy teeth for chewing and speaking
  • A gorgeous smile as they grow up
  • A decreased chance of tooth loss
  • A reduced likelihood of needing dental procedures

You could also reward them for their bravery at the visit.

For instance, offer them a sticker, a healthy yet tasty snack, or a day at their favorite park for visiting the dentist without fussing.

They’ll start to connect going to the dentist with these positive reinforcements.

4. Set a positive example

Easing dental anxiety in children can start at home when you set the tone for your little one’s sentiments toward the dentist.

Children are sensitive to their parent’s moods. By setting a good example, you’ll be doing your part to make their experience great.

For instance, make sure you keep all your dental appointments.

Express your concerns or preferences without implying negativity towards dental visits unless it relates to discussing strategies for overcoming those feelings positively.

How iGrin Pediatric Dentistry helps children with dental anxiety

Firstly, please let us know if your child has dental anxiety.

We can offer tips to you as the parent on ways to prepare, provide helpful language, and offer support.

We can also help them overcome it by altering our approach to accommodate them.

Sometimes, sedation dentistryThis link leads to Childrens’ Dental Services page, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) may be the best option.

It induces a calming sensation and is a tested, child-safe option.

Additionally, tell us if your child has special needsThis link leads to Special Needs Dentistry page.

Between our specialized training in working with special needs children and our unique approach, your little one will be in good hands.

And we can offer them comfort measures like stuffed animals, blankets, and noise-canceling headphones.

Easing dental anxiety in children is often achievable when you know a few tips and have a supportive pediatric dental staffThis link leads to the Team page to assist you!

Our goal is to create a positive dental experience to set children up for a lifetime of good oral health and relaxed dental visits. We’re on your team with this!

Are you ready to get your child the care they need with less stress for both of you? Let us assist!

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We’re conveniently located on Old Furnace Rd. in Boiling Springs, SC. Fortunately, those in Spartanburg, Greer, Gaffney, Taylors, Wade Hampton, Mauldin, and Simpsonville, SC, can also benefit from our pediatric dentistry services.

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