Dentaphobia, or the fear of going to the dentist, is a common phobia amongst all age groups, but especially present in children. The good news is that sending your child to a capable and compassionate dentist can not only remove the fear of going to the dentist, but could also possibly instill a stronger drive in children to participate in proper oral hygiene. Below are some of the techniques that dentist use to prevent or manage dentaphobia.
How a good dentist can prevent Dentaphobia (Fear of Dentist)
- Employing a unique vocabulary: in many cases, simply using certain words such as pain, shot, hurt, or drill can induce anxiety for a child, because they do not understand as much as adults regarding the situation. A good dentist can explain procedures in a non-threatening way, never forcing a procedure, but rather working with the child in a supportive way so that they are less afraid.
- Letting the parents be close by: one of the biggest triggers for children at the dentist is the fact that they are in completely unusual surroundings, without any of the things that they are used to. Having parents nearby can make children feel safe and comfortable.
- Making the child physically comfortable: another source of anxiety for children is being physically uncomfortable while the procedure or checkup is taking place. Good dentists understand that comfort is a priority for patients, especially children. They offer gentle, age appropriate seating and care that caters to the needs of children.
- Explaining things thoroughly: the fear of the unknown is a huge source of anxiety for many people, and children are no different. Many times children feel afraid because they simply don’t know what is going on. Dentists can combat this by explaining things to them in a simplified way that they can understand, letting them know exactly what’s going on and why it isn’t scary.
- Feeding their curiosity: Many children are highly curious with various aspects of the world, and in most cases dentistry is no different. By explaining it as something that the children can become interested in, a good dentist can circumvent many problems regarding their little patients’ fears. They can also teach the child about brushing and dental care in fun ways, or ways that make kids feel safe, important, and more “grown up.”
These are just some of the ways that crafty and caring dentists have found to help some of their smaller patients, but this is not in any way a definitive list. Each dentist has their own practices that they will use in order to make children feel comfortable. If you have any questions or concerns about these practices, having a conversation with the dentist beforehand is never a bad idea.
If you need gentle, effective dental care for your child, look to the caring staff of Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Steven Hagerman and his caring staff have wonderful experience catering to children, and work to ensure a lifetime of good dental health. Please call (651) 646-2392 today or request an appointment online.