THERE’S NOTHING BETTER than seeing a child’s smile light up a room. While parents understand the importance of keeping that smile healthy by regularly visiting the dentist, some children are a bit apprehensive about making that visit.
There Are Many Potential Causes For A Child’s Dental Anxiety
There may be several reasons why your little one isn’t too excited about visiting the dentist. It could be fear of the unknown, or maybe a friend or a sibling has told them a scary story about what happens during a dental visit. A parent’s own apprehension about visiting the dentist can even influence their child’s opinion about their upcoming dental exam.
Whatever the case may be, we want to help you prepare your child for his or her upcoming visit and help relieve some of that stress!
Try These Tips To Help Prepare For Their Next Visit!
Start early. The AAPD recommends children see the dentist by their first birthday or whenever teeth appear. Not only is this important to ensure their teeth and gums are healthy, it will help them grow used to seeing the dentist on a regular basis.
Visit a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists receive extra training beyond dental school to help them become experts at treating children and helping them feel comfortable during their appointment. Pediatric offices are also kid-friendly and provide lots of accommodations to ensure your child’s visit is as pleasant as possible.
Explain what will happen during their visit. Fear of the unknown can be a significant contributor to stress leading up to a child’s dental visit. When you explain the basics of what will happen during their visit, they’ll know what to expect when they arrive at the dentist’s office.
Stress Can Affect Your Child’s Oral Health
Not only will decreased stress make their appointment more enjoyable, but lower overall stress will help their oral health too!
Studies have shown that children who experience greater levels of stress than their peers tend to develop a greater number of dental caries. High levels of stress increase the amount of salivary cortisols and cavity-forming bacteria in the mouth, making it more difficult for them to ward off cavities.
Stress can come from any number of sources in a child’s life. It may be the result of a big move or it could be caused by pressures at school such as difficult classwork or trouble with friends. Whatever the source, if you notice your child seems stressed, there are plenty of ways to help such as:
- Spend quality time with your child daily
- Ensure they get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet
- Talk with your child about what may be causing their stress
- Schedule wellness visits with the doctor and follow-up visits to the dentist and let them know what they can expect at these visits
We Can Help Your Child Have An Enjoyable Visit
As your child continues to grow, we want to ensure they develop a happy, healthy smile. We strive to help them feel comfortable during their visit so they can develop good oral health habits for a lifetime. If you have any questions about how you can prepare your child for their next appointment, let us know! We’d love to help you prepare them for the most enjoyable visit possible.
Thank you for being a part of our Reston family dental practice -Smilezone Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.
Top image by Flickr user Ashley Campbell used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.