Going to the dentist can be a scary experience for adults and especially for kids. Children’s fear of going to the dentist is present for a number of reasons – some kids might dread the funny smells, for example, while another might be scared to sit in the waiting room filled with adults they do not know.
Kids do have a lot in common when it comes to dentistry, though. All children need dental care at an early age, as early checkups prevent cavities and tooth decay that can lead to pain, trouble chewing and even dental problems later in life. Youngsters with healthy teeth and gums can speak clearly, chew well and smile brightly.
Having a fear of going to the dentist can prevent some children from getting the dental care they need. Left unaddressed, a childhood fear of going to the dentist can even lead to lifelong phobias that prevent adults from going to the dentist, and this can lead to tooth loss and other serious dental or medical problems.
Clearly, it is important to address the top concerns kids face when going to the dentist. Here are the top three.
Top 3 Things Kids Fear of Going to the Dentist
1. Fear of the unknown
Being in new situations is always a bit scary. This is especially true when you are a kid lying in a dental chair in an unfamiliar room, surrounded by unfamiliar objects and noises while a stranger pokes cold, metallic and weird instruments into your mouth.
To help your child overcome a fear of the unknown while at the dentist, choose a dentist that specializes in providing full-service dental care for children. Pediatric dentists know how to explain dental procedures in simple terms that kids understand, so children know what to expect next. Kids really respond to interactive teaching tools.
These dentists provide quality dental care only to children and focus on making kids feel comfortable and safe. Pediatric dentistry offices offer exceptional customer service in a family-friendly atmosphere.
2. Fear of pain or injury
Fortunately, children are growing up in a world of painless dentistry. Dental health professionals now use advanced techniques and tools that make dentistry more comfortable. This is especially true with dental health professionals who treat children and fearful adults regularly. Kids who never experience pain in the dental chair often outgrow their fear of pain or injury at the hands of a dentist. In fact, today’s children may grow up looking forward to seeing their dentist, as dentists can relieve pain and improve smiles.
Dentists do a lot to alleviate fears in their pediatric patients, but parents can also help reduce their kids’ fears. Children often mimic their parents, especially when it comes to reacting to stressful situations. One study shows that parents can actually pass their fear of going to the dentist onto their children. Specifically, kids take their cue from their dads.
“Although the results should be interpreted with due caution, children seem to mainly pay attention to the emotional reactions of the fathers when deciding if situations at the dentist are potentially stressful,” said study co-author America Lara-Sacido.
3. Fear of separation from their parents
Many kids worry about sitting in the dentist chair alone, without a parent in the room. It is normal for a child to fuss and cry when separated from mom or dad. In some cases, a dentist may allow a parent to stay at a distance or hold a child’s hand, but a pediatric dentist has special skills that help kids feel calm and confident. These specialized dentists may tell stories, for example, or engage the child in conversation.
Taking a child to the dentist at an early age helps – kids who learn to trust the dentist at a young age are more likely to feel comfortable being alone with a dentist as they age.
For more information on the fears kids have of dentistry, talk to your child’s ponte vedra dentist. A pediatric dentist has the training, equipment, and skills to help your kids relax at the dentist’s office.