Help for Kids Afraid of Dental Visits

Is your child afraid of dental visits? It’s good to know that pediatric dentists have an extra two to three years of training beyond dental school, so they are experts at managing fearful young patients. Dr. James Owens is a pediatric dentist. He specializes in treating children. His practice is designed to be kid-friendly. Whether your child is a bit nervous or wildly afraid, try these tips to make visiting the dentist a more positive experience.

·       Start early. Get your child into the routine of seeing the dentist when they are young and likely to be less nervous. The AAPD recommends scheduling your child's first visit as soon as teeth begin to appear or by age 1. "An excellent way to minimize anxiety for children is to start regular dental visits before a problem like a cavity develops," says Edward H. Moody, Jr., D.D.S., vice president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

·       Make the most of distraction. Consider popping in earbuds and allowing your child to listen to favorite tunes or a book on tape. The distraction can help take the focus off the dental procedure.

·       Forget your own dental fears. If you dread the dentist, your child can pick up on your feelings. If you have your own horror stories, it’s best not to share those with your child.

·       Run interference if siblings or friends tell scary dentist stories. Are your child’s older siblings or friends detailing the time the dentist yanked on a tooth and they screamed? Put the kibosh on those types of tales as quickly as possible.

·       Don't say, 'Don't worry. It won't hurt.' While you mean to reassure your child, they will tend to hone in on the word “hurt”. Checkups and 90 percent of first visits are nearly always pain-free, so steer clear of that concept entirely.

If your child has expressed any fears or concerns about going to the dentist, let pediatric dentist Dr. James Owens know ahead of time. Our kid-friendly staff can help ease your child’s fears.