Dental anxiety is very common in both adults and children. More than half of all dental fears start during childhood. About ⅓ of all children experience some form of anxiety or fear when visiting the dentist. Fortunately, these fears can be overcome with help from you and the dental staff. Pediatric dentists are not only trained in tooth care, but in how to help children have a positive experience. But why are children afraid to visit the dentist? Below are five common reasons why children experience dental anxiety. Continue Reading
A dental visit is something that even many adults dread, so when it comes to your child, it can be difficult to convince them that their upcoming dental visit will be enjoyable and beneficial for their health. If your child seems anxious about an upcoming trip to the dentist, here are some tips to help them ease their worries. Continue Reading
One of the first things you do when you arrive at the dentist’s office with your child is to fill out a medical history form. It’s important to include as much information as possible on this form and to be very accurate so your dentist can give your child the best care possible. Even small medical issues can affect how your child’s dentist will approach a situation, so make sure to provide a thorough description of your child’s health. Continue Reading
Sometimes, taking a child to the dentist can create more anxiety for the parent than for the child. Unfortunately, if a parent shows stress or fear over a trip to the dentist, those emotions are often transmitted to the child. In order to keep your child (and yourself) free of dental anxiety, consider implementing the following tips. Continue Reading
Whether you’re a new parent or simply refreshing your pediatric dentist knowledge, take a look at our quick guide to taking your children to the dentist. It will help make your visits go smoothly and keep your children smiling. Continue Reading
Going to the dentist for the first time can be a potentially scary or unnerving visit for a small child. Some of the fear comes from the unknown and some of it comes from the array of new, unfamiliar people and instruments your children find within the dentist’s office.
One of the moments that can cause your children concern is when the dentist or the hygienist wants to do X-rays. Not only does the child have to wear a heavy piece of clothing, but he has also to bite something hard and have a funny looking piece of equipment right up next to his cheek. To help keep your child calm during the process, it is best to briefly explain what will happen before ever entering the dentist’s office. Continue Reading
Many necessary orthodontic treatments – the ones that help give you a beautiful, straight, healthy smile – can come with some after-treatment pain. Whether it’s braces, retainers, or palate expanders, it can be extremely common for your child to feel some pain or discomfort after they leave the office. To help you child overcome the pain, here are some simple tips to try.
The first tip is to try and pre-empt the pain by taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen about an hour or so before your scheduled visit. This will help ensure the pain medication kicks in right around the time the work is being done. Just make sure your child does not take aspirin, as it can cause bleeding. Continue Reading
Little kids can sometimes be a little nervous about going to the dentist, and some of them can be downright terrified. How parents address these fears, and what they do to dispel them can make a big difference in the outcome of the visit. We want your kids to be as happy to see us as we are to see them, so here are a couple tips to help things go more smoothly.
The Early Bird Loves the Dentist
If you can make visiting the dentist part of your normal routine from a young age, your kids won’t have too much to be afraid of. Very young children have a great sense of adventure and are more willing to try new things. It’s not until a little later on that fear of the unknown starts to set in and make kids a little more apprehensive. Bring your kids in early and often to make the experience familiar and comfortable right from the start.
Don’t Overdo It
Your kids may have some questions about their dentist visit ahead of time, and you should answer them, but don’t give them more information than they’re asking for. Keep your answers to their questions simple and to the point. Your kids don’t need to know about every possible dental treatment they may experience for the rest of their lives. They just need to know that the dentist is going to look at their teeth. Any more information beyond this will just make them worry, probably unnecessarily, which will lead to anxiety in the office.
Try a Trial Run
Taking the kids along with you to the dentist is probably not the best idea, because they may feel nervous seeing you in the chair with the dentist peering into your mouth. If you want to take away some of the mystery about what happens at the dentist, consider doing a mock visit at home. Tell your kids that you’re going to show them what the dentist is going to do during their visit, then take them through the basics to help them prepare.
Ask them to brush their teeth and rinse.
Set them in a comfy chair, put a movie or music on, and ask them to relax.
Tell your child that you’re going to look in their mouth and count their teeth.
Use a toothbrush to count your child’s teeth.
Congratulate your child on having the right amount of teeth and for keeping them clean.
Establish Good Habits
It’s true that some visits to the dentist can be less pleasant than others, especially if there is more extensive work that needs to be done. Problems like cavities can often be avoided if you teach your child healthy dental habits right from the start. Encourage them to brush their teeth after every meal. Be sparing with sweets and juices. Offer them drinks of water throughout the day to keep their mouth fresh and clean. Use a toothpaste with fluoride in it, and ask your dentist about using fluoride drops if you live in an area where the water does not contain fluoride.
Rumors have been circulating for years about dental x-rays and their propensity for causing brain cancer. Countless studies have been done on this subject, many of them directed at children, and the findings are fairly conclusive that the benefit of x-rays outweighs the risks. The American Dental Association (ADA) has taken this information and set forth guidelines regarding the frequency of dental x-rays and in what situations a dentist should administer one.
Why do Children Need Dental X-Rays?
Kids actually need dental x-rays more often than adults do. As they grow, their jaw and tooth structure change and need to be monitored. Dental injuries that require repair are more common among children. They also have a higher incidence of cavities and oral infections than adults do, and these situations need to be monitored. The risk of allowing an infection to go untreated far outweighs the risk of cancer when it comes to dental x-rays. The ADA recommends that children have a dental x-ray once a year to detect any problems that may be occurring.
What are the Risks?
Having an x-ray exposes a person to radiation for a very brief amount of time. Radiation increases the risk of cancer, especially in those who undergo prolonged exposure.There is a slightly increased risk for developing a type of brain cancer for those who frequently undergo dental x-rays. The exposure to radiation during a dental x-ray is slight, though, less than that experienced from exposure to the sun or on an airplane. Other types of cancer, such as thyroid cancer, could be a risk as well, but steps are taken to eliminate these risks.
Reducing the Risks
Your dentist’s office has taken several precautions to reduce the risk of cancer when taking dental x-rays. A lead shield is placed over the patient’s neck and torso to protect the thyroid and vital organs. A digital x-ray machine has been developed that produces images using a significantly reduced amount of radiation.
Although the ADA recommends having dental x-rays done once a year, if you are worried about the risk to your child, you can opt to have them done less often. Though they are helpful at catching problems early on, x-rays are only absolutely necessary when a cavity or infection is suspected or when orthodontic work or dental repair is needed. Avoiding x-rays altogether is not the safest option for your child, however, as this puts them at risk for persistent infection and other dental problems.
Going to the dentist can be a scary thing for children. They have to lay in a chair while a stranger puts things in their mouth and makes them uncomfortable. There is naturally going to be some anxiety surrounding dentist visits, but there’s a lot that parents can do to ease fears and to make the dentist’s office seem less scary with each visit.
Start Young. Toddlers are pretty fearless and the older children get, the more afraid they may be to experience new things. Taking your kids to the dentist early and often will make it a commonplace thing in their lives. They’ll be much more at ease if they know what to expect and are used to the routine there.
Choose Your Words Carefully. Be careful not to make things worse when you’re talking to your kids about an upcoming dentist appointment. They will take cues from you and if they sense that you’re nervous, they will be too. Try to avoid saying things that may turn out to be untrue like, “It won’t hurt.” If they have a cavity or another issue that might need to be addressed, it might hurt a little, and you don’t want to lose their trust. Instead say, “I’ll be with you the whole time.” Keep it simple and don’t give too many details that will only cause their anxiety to build before they arrive. Tell them something like, “The dentist wants to take a peek at your teeth and make sure they’re all in there.”
Try a Pretend Visit at Home. Tell your child that you want to play dentist. Have them open their mouth and use a toothbrush to count each of their teeth. When their pretend visit is over, offer them a sticker or other small prize as a reward. This will help them view their dentist visit with a positive attitude.
No matter how much you prepare them, some children are bound to get at least a little bit upset at their real appointment. Just stay calm, reassure them, and congratulate them for a job well done at the end. The next visit will be easier once they know what to expect.