Some dental anxiety in children about going to the dentist office is normal and healthy. However, many children are overly fearful of unknown situations.
My Child is afraid to come to the dental office:
At Frisco Kids Dentistry we make every effort to ensure your child feels as comfortable and confident as possible. Below are some helpful steps you can take to prepare your child for a dental visit.
My child is anxious. Am I making it worse?
Children are sensitive and may pick up on anxiety you have concerning your own dental visits Be mindful of your words, attitudes, and behaviors when speaking to your child, or speaking to others in your child’s presence.
How You Can Help With Dental Anxiety in Children?
The visit begins at home.
- Always speak positively about going to the dentist (i.e. “My teeth feel so nice and clean after going to the dentist!” or “I’m so thankful there are dentists to help us keep our teeth strong and healthy!”)
Prepare your child: Predictability = Security.
Read your child a book before going to the dentist office. (See recommended book list)
- Incorporate “Structured Doll Play” with your child. This daily activity helps your child feel prepared and at ease prior to dental appointments. (See directions for Structured Doll Play).
- Schedule a tour of our clinic before your child’s first appointment.
- If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s appointment, please feel free to give us a call.
Reducing Dental Anxiety at Frisco Kids
At Frisco Kids, we are committed to providing every patient a stress-free, comfortable experience while in our office. Because we understand that approximately 20% of children report having a fear of going to the dentist, we offer several options to reduce any dental anxiety your child may be feeling. Distraction and relaxation techniques can be simple methods to minimize fear and calm the nerves.
Some anxiety-reducing amenities we offer are:
- Headphones: Listening to music or watching a favorite movie on Netflix in a private room can take your child’s mind off being nervous, as well as mask any sounds of dental tools that may need to be utilized, depending on the procedure being performed.
- Weighted blankets: Research published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that the gentle, deep pressure felt while using a weighted blanket has a calming effect on the brain, decreasing stress levels for patients. This hugging sensation created by weighted blankets (proprioceptive input) promotes serotonin production, which elevates feelings of happiness. The serotonin produced by the brain also stimulates natural melatonin which has an additional calming effect.
- Sensory items: Squishy toys and other items that your child can manipulate and play with are available to help soothe the nerves, as well as serve as fun distractions.
- Low lighting: Fluorescent lighting, which emits mostly short wavelength blue light, can stimulate neurotransmitters and hormones that serve to wake up the body. While this is not always an issue, sometimes certain lighting can produce more anxiety and stress; therefore, we offer atmospheres with lower lighting to induce a more calming, soothing effect on the brain.
- Dental sedation: If your child is very young, extremely apprehensive, has special needs, or is undergoing a lengthy procedure that may be difficult to sit through, we offer various levels of pediatric dental sedation, such as, nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and in-office IV sedation.
To reduce dental anxiety in children, the pediatric dental specialists at Frisco Kids always try to use child-friendly terms to put our patients at ease before, during, and after their visit. We are also available to answer questions from parents or patients about any treatment being performed.
What can I say if my child tells me he or she is scared to go to the dentist?
Here are some examples of how you can respond:
- I understand you are scared. Lots of kids feel scared at first. Let’s read this book about going to the dentist so you’ll know what to expect.
- I get it you are nervous. Let’s get out characters and act out a scene of what going to the dentist will be like for you! (See directions for Structured Doll Play.)
- I can see you are scared. Why don’t you bring your favorite stuffed animal (doll, toy) with you? You can hold it close while you are at the dentist office.
Some dental anxiety in children about going to the dentist office is normal. We do our best to make your child’s experience positive. If you are unable to calm your child and feel your child’s anxiety is more serious, please consult with a mental health professional that specializes in working with children.
If you are ready to choose a team of pediatric dental specialists that offer state-of-the-art treatment and highly personalized care, contact Frisco Kid’s Dentistry by Online Appointment Request or call 214 618 5200.