What to do if your child has dental anxiety

What can you do if your child is scared of the dentist?

Everyone lives with their own fears, regardless of age. Amongst clowns and spiders, it seems that a number of people are dealing with another fear – the dentist. In Australia alone, around one in six adults, and a further one in ten children, are scared to sit in the dentist's chair, according to the University of Adelaide.

But since oral health is so important to our overall well-being, what do you do if your own child is scared to get their teeth looked after?

Start dental care at a young age

The Australian Dental Association recommends starting a child's dental visits within six months of the first tooth appearing. Receiving professional dental care at an early age is a great way to reduce the risk of anxiety as your child will develop a routine and understand that trips to the dentist are an important part of good health.

This way, they'll also be able to stay on top of any potential oral complications, such as cavities, and reduce the risk of needing major treatment down the line.

Is your child scared of the dentist?Always reassure your child that the dentist is nothing to be scared about.

Avoid bribery

Offering your child a reward for not crying at the dentist can cause more damage than you might think. For one, they may wonder what could be so bad about the dentist that would make them want to cry, increasing their apprehension about going in the first place.

Secondly, many parents may choose to give a sweet treat as the bribe. This sends the wrong message after learning about the dangers of a sugary diet from the experts at the dental practice. Instead, during and after the visit, praise your child for their good behaviour and stick to toys or stickers if you feel a small gift is warranted. 

Keep it simple

Oral health can be a complex subject for an adult to wrap their head around, let alone a child. Instead of bombarding them with complicated language, keep details to a minimum and answer any questions in simple and to-the-point replies. Doing so will reduce worry and any further questions from arising.

Similarly, don't give your child false hope and say that everything will be fine. In the rare event that something isn't quite right, your child may lose trust in both you and the dentist. Instead, let the experts answer any questions. The dentists at our Wellington practice are trained to explain conditions in a non-threatening and simple way.

Emphasise the importance of good dental hygiene

Whether at home or in the dentists chair, you must ensure that your child understands why practising a strong level of oral care is so important. Teach them that a dentist is a friendly doctor for their teeth who is responsible for keeping their smile beautiful and strong. This attitude will help set the stage for what your child should expect to practise in dental care for years to come. 

Is your child due for a check-up? Contact City Dentists today and let us look after your little one's teeth today.