How Do Children's Dentists Help Anxious Kids?

Many children fear going to the dentist's office. They may have negative memories of prior dental appointments or simply find the sights, sounds, and smells of a dentist's office frightening. Dental phobias are common, but they can be avoided and treated with proper care. Pediatric dentists receive two extra years of training that allows them to specialize in treating children. A pediatric dentist will be able to reassure children and put them at ease. Here are four specific things that a children's dentist can do to make your child's next dental appointment easy:

1. Assure your child that their teeth are normal.

Some children are very sensitive about their appearance, particularly older children who are beginning to experience the changes of puberty. Kids with misaligned or stained teeth may be particularly self-conscious about their smile. Your child may be worried that the dentist will judge them for their appearance. A pediatric dentist can put kids at ease by assuring them that their teeth are normal. Pediatric dentists see many different kinds of teeth over the course of the day. They will treat your child in a professional and nonjudgmental manner.

2. Provide comforting objects.

Some children experience more generalized anxiety at the dentist. This may be especially true for kids with sensory processing disorders. The lights and sensations at the dentist's office can be intense, but comforting objects can soothe kids. Pediatric dentists keep many helpful objects on hand. For instance, many kids like to hold a soft stuffed animal during their dental exam. A pediatric dentist can also offer your child a weighted blanket, which can provide comforting pressure during their appointment.

3. Offer suitable distractions.

Focusing on the cause of anxiety can make it worse. Distraction is sometimes the key to anxiety relief. A pediatric dentist can offer your child suitable distractions during their dental appointment. For instance, a music player with headphones can allow your child to listen to soothing music during their appointment. This distraction can help kids tune out the sound of dental equipment, which can be upsetting. Some pediatric dentists even place fun posters on the ceiling so kids can look at them during their appointment.

4. Explain dental procedures thoroughly.

Understanding common dental procedures can help kids feel more at ease. When kids know what to expect, they won't have to fear the worst. Pediatric dentists can explain dental procedures clearly and calmly, using language that kids will understand.