Like adults, children need to see a dentist at least twice a year to maintain healthy teeth and gums. However, some children and adolescents do not find being in the dental chair exciting because of dental anxiety. Having a friendly family dentist in Toledo Ohio who you can trust can make dental checkups a positive experience for your child.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Dental fear and anxiety (DFA) refers to feeling worried, anxious, or fearful about an upcoming appointment with the dentist. DFA is common in pediatric patients. A study shows that 74.1% of children have dental anxiety ranging from moderate to severe. Children between 7 and 10 tend to experience higher levels of anxiety compared to younger children.
Why Some Children Fear Going to the Dentist
Dental anxiety can make your child uneasy or fidgety when they need to remain still to receive teeth cleanings and other oral treatments. This is understandable, considering a number of things can cause your child to fear going to the dentist. They include factors such as:
- General fearfulness of needles, drills, or other dental tools
- Fear of dental procedures and treatments
- A previous painful or negative dental experience
- Overhearing a parent or sibling say dental treatments are painful
Fear of Dentists Can Affect Oral Health
The American Dental Association recommends your child visit their dentist at least every 6 months because daily brushing and flossing isn’t enough to promote good oral health. Regular dental exams, x-rays, and routine cleanings help prevent cavities, gum infections, and gum disease. However, fear of the dentist may result in an avoidance of dental treatment that persists into adulthood. Missing multiple dental checkups leads to deteriorated oral health and increases the risk of conditions such as:
- Severe tooth decay
- Dental pain
- Gum infection
- Gum disease
- Loose tooth or tooth loss
- Chipped tooth
Extensive or costly treatments or procedures that require anesthesia may be required to correct these oral problems. They include procedures that can be avoided, such as extraction, dental fillings, root canal therapy, and replacement crowns.
Helping Your Child Overcome Dental Fear
Getting a child with dental fear to the dentist can be stressful for them and you. Luckily, there are ways you can help them grow comfortable being in the dentist’s chair. Choosing a family dentist Toledo Ohio residents know is trained to deal with dental anxiety in kids can make a difference. Other ways to soothe their nerves and ease the jitters include:
- Reassuring your child that going to the dentist is good for their teeth and gums
- Showing them videos with other children at the dentist
- Touring the dentistry practice to familiarize your child with the dentist and what to expect
- Allowing your child to bring a comforting toy or blanket to their appointment
- Letting your child know you’ll be present to support them
- Practicing breathing or other relaxation techniques during the visit
Ensuring your child keeps all their appointments also helps get them accustomed to the dentist (desensitization). If it’s a severe case of anxiety, your family dentist may recommend dental sedation. Remember to put the icing on the cake by rewarding your child for being brave after each dental visit.
Reducing Dental Anxiety at Light Touch Dental Care
Dealing with dental anxiety now and connecting with an experienced family dentist Toledo Ohio speaks highly of can help promote oral health from childhood to adulthood. Our family dentist has been providing dental care to children of all ages for the past 17 years. Dr. Natalie Nechvatal, DDS, is trained to use safe strategies for keeping your child calm throughout their visit. We’ll proceed with treatment only after you and your child feel completely comfortable. Call 419-866-4271 to schedule an appointment today.