Four Ways to Handle Your Child’s Dental Anxiety

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Mental health is essential for children in the United States. Many kids feel sad, angry, or scared sometimes. It’s vital to have ways to deal with these feelings. Some kids might need help from a grown-up to feel better. Some of the most common mental health problems among children are depression and anxiety.

It’s estimated that about 2.7 million children have depression in the United States. That’s about 1 in every 33 kids. And almost 3 million kids have anxiety, which is 1 in every 20 kids. So if your child is feeling down or worried, they are not alone. One of the most common forms of anxiety among children is dental anxiety. It can be a dangerous form of anxiety because it can also affect their physical health.

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is fear, apprehension, or even dread when thinking about going to the dentist. It’s estimated that between 9% and 15% of Americans have some form of dental anxiety. But it’s not just adults who experience this type of anxiety – children can suffer from it too.

The fear is so great for some children that they will avoid going to the dentist altogether. Unfortunately, this can lead to serious oral health problems down the road. That’s why it’s essential to understand what causes dental anxiety in children and how to help them overcome it.

What Causes Dental Anxiety in Children?

Several different factors can contribute to dental anxiety in children. First, it may result from a bad experience in the past, such as a painful procedure or feeling like they were not in control during their last visit.

It could also be due to genetics – if your child has a parent or close relative who suffers from dental anxiety, they may be more likely to experience it. Fear of the unknown can also play a role – if your child has never been to the dentist before, they may be anxious about what to expect.

A child getting her teeth checked

How to Help Your Child Overcome Dental Anxiety

If your child is suffering from dental anxiety, you can do a few things to help them overcome it.

Give Them the Necessary Information They Need

Children don’t like doing things or going somewhere they don’t know about. They are inherently curious creatures and will demand answers at some point. So it’s good that you educate them about all things dental.

The information they need isn’t just related to the dental clinic. They might also be curious about orthodontic appliances, and they might even need to wear one. One of the most common orthodontic appliances is an EMA Oral Appliance. Many children now snore, and this appliance is essential for them to help treat snoring and even underbites, which are also common among children. Teaching them about this particular appliance and many more orthodontic appliances can ensure that they wear them correctly and won’t take them off out of fear.

Make Sure They Have a Positive Dental Experience

If your child has had a bad experience at the dentist in the past, it’s essential to make sure their next experience is positive. You might have to find a new dentist specializing in treating dental anxiety children.

It’s also essential to make sure you are supportive and understanding during their appointment. Don’t force your children to do anything they are not comfortable with, and be sure to praise them for their bravery when they do something that scares them.

Use Distraction Techniques

One of the best ways to help your child overcome dental anxiety is to use distraction techniques. This can be anything from watching a movie or TV show during their appointment to playing a game on their phone or tablet.

You can also try to distract them by talking to them about their favorite topics or telling them jokes. Again, the goal is to take their mind off of what’s happening so they can relax and feel more comfortable.

Encourage Them to Practice Relaxation Techniques

There are several different relaxation techniques you can encourage your child to practice before their appointment. Relaxation techniques include deep breathing exercises, visualization, or progressive muscle relaxation.

These techniques can help your child relax both mentally and physically, making the dental experience less daunting.

Final Thoughts

Dental anxiety is a common problem among children, but it doesn’t have to be something that prevents them from getting the dental care they need.

By understanding the causes of dental anxiety and using some of the tips above, you can help your child overcome their fear and get the treatment they need.

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