How to Help Your Child With Dentist Chair Jitters

How to Help Your Child With Dentist Chair Jitters

Posted by Lone Star Dental Care Nov 30, 2020

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Anytime your child doesn’t know what to expect, it can be a scary experience, especially when it comes to visiting the dentist. Here at Lone Star Dental Care in Frisco, Texas, we strive to create “happy visits” for you and your child every time you set foot in our office. 

Drs. Afshin Vahadi and Vafa Mirshams are skilled family and cosmetic dentists with years of expertise in children’s dentistry. We encourage early dental visits so your child has a happy experience and develops a lifelong practice of good oral health. To help you prepare your child for the dentist and calm their jitters, here are a few tips to make it a pleasant experience. 

Dental anxiety is real, but manageable

Patients of all ages experience dental anxiety from time to time. For many, it’s a very real fear that develops from an unpleasant dental visit, or simply from fear of the unknown. If your child is old enough to understand that you’re taking them to the dentist, they might feel anxiety for several reasons based on stories they’ve heard or movies they’ve seen that portray dental visits as something scary.

As a result, your child may have a fear of any of the following:

  • Pain
  • Feeling powerless
  • Inability to breathe

Additionally, if you or another adult family member has a fear of dental visits, it’s likely your child will, too. We’ve found that the best way to quell your child’s anxiety surrounding a dental visit is to start early, talk to your kids about their upcoming dental visits, and be consistent with their appointments. 

Start early

You can begin bringing your child to our office for dental checkups when they’re as young as 6 months, or as soon as their first tooth erupts. When you begin these “happy visits” early, your child becomes accustomed to our office, and dental offices in general. They get to know us, and we get to know them, so as they get older, they simply view coming in for a dental cleaning as a routine part of their overall health and wellness. 

Talk to your child about what to expect

It’s best not to keep dental visits a secret. Give your child as much information as possible leading up to their appointment. Explain to them what they can expect at an age-appropriate level, such as lying down in the dentist’s chair, noises they might hear, and how the instruments might feel in their mouth. 

Reading books about dental visits with your child and letting them ask questions and express concerns can also help them feel more at ease. Assure your child that they can signal for the hygienist to stop or take a break if they feel particularly stressed during a treatment or procedure. 

Lead by example

If you don’t have dental anxiety, you can lead by example. Let your child accompany you to the dentist so they can see how there’s nothing to fear. In the days leading up to your child’s appointment, tell them how excited you are to see how healthy their teeth and gums will be. 

Tell your children how much you enjoy going to the dentist and how it’s a positive experience. Emphasize how important it is to keep their teeth healthy, and show them how you brush and floss and prepare for your routine cleanings. 

If your child is particularly anxious, teach them some relaxation and breathing techniques and practice with them before their appointment. Breathing deeply can do wonders for dentist chair jitters for children and adults. 

Sedation dentistry may be an option

When your child is still feeling anxious after trying techniques to calm their nerves, sedation dentistry may be an option. We offer several types of sedation dentistry, including, nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, and IV sedation. Before administering any type of sedation, we evaluate your child’s health and medical history to see if they’re a candidate. 

Nitrous oxide is often an ideal way to help a particularly anxious child stay calm and relaxed during their dental visit, especially if they’re having a cavity filled or a more extensive procedure. 

At Lone Star Dental Care, we look forward to welcoming your child into our practice. Give us a call to schedule an appointment at 972-325-7044, or book online today.

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