Pediatric Dentistry | Experiencing anxiety at the dentist office is not uncommon among both children and adults. Children can get set off because they are in an unfamiliar environment and may not always know what to expect. Since children are highly imaginative, they can also let their feelings run wild in a strange setting like the dental office.
So this is as good of a time as any to have a look at dental anxiety among children. We can help you find some ways to make receiving pediatric dentistry treatments and procedures as easy as possible on your child.
When dealing with childhood dental anxiety, it is often helpful to do a little planning before your child’s next appointment. Some methods include:
- Positive reinforcement
- Setting expectations
- Nitrous oxide
Pediatric Dentistry Relaxation
There is definitely a connection between breathing and our thoughts and moods. Helping your child with deep breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation can help them go into their next appointment with more control over their physical symptoms. It also help distract them during their dental visit.
Here’s something that parents don’t always think about: They may be actually conditioning their child to believe that visiting the dentist is a form of punishment, not something helpful. For example, saying something like, “When you don’t brush your teeth every day, your dentist will need to pull them out” leaves the impression that dentistry is something to be feared. Even if it works in getting them to brush more regularly, it can still cause dental anxiety when they need their next dental exam or cleaning.
Tell Them What to Expect
This is one of the best techniques for preventing dental anxiety. Simply tell your child what they should expect at their next appointment. If you don’t know, feel free to contact our office for more information.
The idea here is that you are helping your child remove the fear of the unknown. Instead of imagining all of the horrible things that may happen during their appointment, you are giving them actual information. For example, you may want to describe for them some of the sounds and sensations that they can expect during their treatment so that they will not as anxious.
Nitrous Oxide and Pediatric Dentistry
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” is a colorless and odorless gas that can be very helpful for children in putting them at ease before any type of dental treatment or procedure. It is delivered through the use of a mask that is worn over the face. When the child breathes in, they are breathing in the nitrous oxide gas, which almost immediately goes to work to make them more comfortable and take their focus away from any fears or anxieties.