Dental anxiety affects almost 20% of school-aged children. This unfortunate and challenging situation, while common, can hinder your child’s dental health. However, you can learn how to best manage your child’s anxiety about the dentist with help from your pediatric dentists at South Miami Pediatric Dental Association in South Miami, FL.
Understanding Dental Anxiety
Often, dental anxiety in children comes from a mix-up of their normal daily routine. Children flourish within a solid routine, and seeing the dentist can throw them off of that norm. Additionally, children tend to have irrational fears, and, unfortunately, the dentist is sometimes one of them. However, there are some handy guidelines for helping your child understand that the dentist is a friend, not a foe.
How can I help my child overcome their fear of the dentist?
One of the greatest things you can do as a parent for a child who is scared of the dentist is to fill them with information. Understanding their procedure and what will happen when they sit down in the dentist’s chair is incredibly helpful for quelling fears. Explain what a dental drill sounds like or explain to them the type of pressure or vibration they will feel during their procedure. Your dentist can help lead your child through some relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises or muscle relaxation can also help your child relax during their procedure. Reinforcing good behavior with small treats or toys helps build a positive relationship with the dentist’s office.
Types of Pediatric Sedation
When more conservative methods do not quell your child’s anxiety, sedation dentistry may help. Sedatives come in various strength levels and can be administered orally, through gas, or intravenously. Inhalation sedation, often called “laughing gas” is common to help children relax while staying awake and alert. Intravenous sedation is usually stronger, keeping your child awake but extremely relaxed. Your dentist can help you determine which level of sedation is best for your child and their anxiety.
Regular Examinations and Cleanings in South Miami, FL
Overcoming dental anxiety is crucial in a child’s oral health. Regular examinations and cleanings twice yearly can help your child’s dental and general health. These examinations are a chance to spot and treat dental conditions early. They also give your dentist the chance to ensure your child hits their growth markers on time. Regular cleanings help prevent dental conditions like gum disease and tooth decay, thus preventing procedures like fillings or root canals.
For more information on dental anxiety or what you can do about it, please contact Dr. Mark S. Webman, Dr. Mario J. Martinez and Dr. Rebecca Lenard at South Miami Pediatric Dental Association in South Miami, FL. Call (305) 666-2068 to schedule your child’s regular dental examination and cleaning today!