How to Handle Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist | Washington DC Pediatric Dentist

As a parent, you want your child’s dental visit to be a positive experience. Perhaps your child has been to the dentist before and had a bad experience. You may wonder how your toddler can survive a dental exam if he or she won’t even let you near their mouth with a toothbrush. Perhaps you have your own fears about the dentist, and now your preteen is showing those same anxieties.

Even though it may be tempting to skip your child’s next dental appointment, as a parent, you are aware of the importance of routine dental care. You can help ease your child’s fear of the dentist’s chair by following these tips.

1. Choosing the Right Dentist

In the case of an anxious child, finding a dentist who is experienced in working with children can make all the difference in the world. Therefore, we always recommend a board-certified pediatric dentist.

Pediatric dentists are specially trained to ease the fears of anxious children, to explain dental procedures in a non-scary way, and to work quickly (but thoroughly).

2. Adopt a calm, positive attitude.

No matter how old your child is, he or she can often sense what you’re feeling. Your child will likely pick up on your nervousness before his or her dentist appointment (or your own).

If you have had a negative experience with the dentist in the past, try to put those emotions aside. Use positive language while being honest with your child about what to expect. The goal of a dentist is not to cause pain but to relieve any pain and restore and protect a patient’s oral health in the long run.

You should never threaten your children with a trip to the dentist if they are not practicing good oral hygiene at home. Dental visits should never be viewed as punishment.

3. Practice good oral hygiene at home.

Make sure you model good oral hygiene at home. You should demonstrate to your child how you brush and floss. Consider bringing your child to your own dentist appointment just to observe.

If your children are very young, play the role of a dentist with them. If your children are good patients, you can reward them with stickers for taking turns being the dentist.

4. Make certain that the atmosphere is enjoyable.

You should choose a dental office that has a fun atmosphere that will engage your children and make them feel comfortable. You can rest assured that your child will be entertained during their visit to our pediatric dental office.

5. Dental sedation may be an option to consider.

It may be appropriate to consider dental sedation for children who are extremely anxious.

Laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, is a very safe sedative that allows children who are mildly nervous to feel calm while remaining awake.

An alternative option to nitrous oxide may be oral conscious sedation or general anesthesia if the dental treatment is extensive and the child cannot tolerate the treatment with repeated nitrous oxide treatments.

In order to find the best treatment option for the child, our pediatric dentist works closely with parents in order to inform them of all available options.

Kids can sometimes be nervous about going to the dentist, especially if they don’t know what to expect. We are here to make your child’s next visit to the dentist an enjoyable experience! Our pediatric dental office specializes in treating the unique needs of children. As a result of our team’s extensive experience, we are able to keep children calm, happy, and comfortable during their visits. Contact us today to schedule your child’s next appointment.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003