Table of Contents
- 1 Why are children afraid to go to the dentist?
- 2 What problems arise from children's fear of going to the dentist?
- 3 Tips for overcoming children's fear at the dentist's office
Also known as odontophobia, fear of going to the dentist is an attitude that children learn from adults throughout their childhood. Inexplicably, many children feel great anxiety when they go to the dentist's office for the first time, without these feelings having any basis in fact.
However, we all know that a regular oral health check-up is essential at any age, especially in children whose teeth are still developing. For this reason, it is important to help children overcome their fear of going to the dentist, preventing them from experiencing this moment as an unpleasant experience.
Why are children afraid to go to the dentist?
Sometimes going to the dentist can be a little uncomfortable. It's normal for some kids to feel nervous about sitting in the dentist's chair, but younger patients are usually the most well-behaved when it comes to visiting the dentist.
So what is the reason why children are afraid of the dentist? These can be very varied, among the most common are the following:
- Fear of the unknown. When toddlers visit a new place where they don't know what will happen to them, they may feel nervous as a sign of danger.
- Parents' fear. Without realising it, adults pass on their fear of the dentist to their children. It is essential that adults who are afraid of going to the dentist's office do not show it in front of their children.
- Fear of pain. Children who have been through a traumatic situation in the past associate a visit to the dentist with pain. However, children's treatments are usually simpler and pain-free, and it is not common for children to remember it as a bad thing.
What problems arise from children's fear of going to the dentist?
Children's fear of going to the dentist can become a real health problem for them. Not going regularly to dental checkups could pose a risk for the youngest members of the household.
Only a qualified professional can detect in time serious oral health problems in children such as periodontal disease, or malformations in the baby teeth or the replacement of permanent teeth.
The earlier children learn to properly care for their teeth and gums, the better the quality of dental health they will enjoy as adults.
Tips for overcoming children's fear at the dentist's office
What can parents do to help children overcome their fear of going to the dentist? It is as simple as accompanying them and giving them support throughout the process, making them participants at all times of what happens inside the dentist's office.
Inform him/her of the procedures
Whatever your child's age, always explain what kind of procedures the dentist will perform at each visit. Whether it's a simple check-up, fillings, removal of a tooth or the fitting of orthodontics. Children will be calmer if they know the whole process and what instruments will be used for it.
Encourage your child to ask the dentist questions.
Parents don't always have the answers to the many questions children have. Leave it in the hands of those who know best; encourage your little ones to ask the dentist everything they want to know. In this way, they will feel much more confident, establishing a closer relationship with the professional who will attend to them.
Practice relaxation techniques
Sitting for a few long minutes in the strange chair at the dentist's office is not pleasant for any child. Especially if they are quite active children who can't sit still for long periods of time, it helps to practice relaxation techniques before and during the appointment.
Keep your child entertained
There are also endless minutes in the waiting room before going to see the dentist. In children's offices, waiting rooms often have toys and books to keep kids entertained. If this isn't the case with your dentist, bring along a toy to keep your child's mind occupied before you go in.
Choose a suitable schedule
The choice of time to go to the dentist influences the level of anxiety suffered by adults, imagine in the case of children! For this reason, it is best to avoid those hours when children are more restless, or excessively tired, so that the little ones can cope much better.
If possible, experts recommend bringing children to the dentist's office in the morning. First thing in the morning or right after school are the best times for children to be in the best mood.
We must not forget that oral health care begins in children with the eruption of the first milk teeth, and that the role of the dentist is essential throughout their lives. Prevent children's fear of going to the dentist from being a problem so that your children learn to take care of their teeth properly.