Many adults are terrified of the dentist, and children are even more likely to feel threatened by dental visits. Luckily, pediatric dentists are trained specifically to deal with this anxiety. Here are some tips for keeping your child calm at the dentist:
Before the Visit
Tell your child that he or she will be visiting the dentist, and answer any questions directly and from the angle of health and wellness. Do not talk about pain kids might feel or your own bad experiences at the dentist, as this may trigger a panicky reaction.
At the Office
It is generally only appropriate for a parent to accompany the child beyond the waiting room if the child is very young. Your pediatric dentist has been trained in techniques to make kids comfortable, and will speak to your child in a calm voice, provide simple instructions, and offer positive reinforcement. The environment of the office is meant to be soothing, but will offer kid-friendly visuals that will distract your child from any discomfort.
Ask your pediatric dentist about mild sedation, which is commonly used for anxious children. Nitrous oxide, or "laughing gas,” is a harmless and widely used sedative which will relieve anxiety and help a nervous child cooperate during an appointment. Your child will remain conscious and be able to respond to questions and requests while experiencing a pleasant sensation and feeling like time is passing quickly.
After the Appointment
Use positive reinforcement, complimenting the way your child handled his or her visit. Talk about the experience, staying positive so your child will likely have less anxiety during the next visit.
If you have additional questions or concerns about your child’s visit, contact Best Kids Dentist by calling (718) 491-5300. Our pediatric dentist and staff strive to create a comfortable and fun environment to get kids excited about oral health.