Kids can be afraid of lots of different things – one of these is going to the dentist. The Australian Dental Journal suggests that over 10% of children don’t like going, but many of these fears can be easily addressed.
We’ve put together a quick guide to help you understand what your child may be afraid of and how to handle the situation with empathy.
When you understand the causes of your child’s fears, you can get to work on addressing them properly.
Common reasons may include:
- They’ve had negative experiences previously
- They’re scared of pain or getting hurt
- They’ve picked up fears from you or someone else they trust
- They don’t know what to expect
- Seeing a scary film or hearing negative things about dentists
- Rumours in the playground
Talk to your child to gain more insight so you can support them appropriately.
how to deal with your child’s dental anxiety
You may not always understand your child’s fears, but their feelings are valid even if they’re misguided. Getting angry at your child won’t solve anything, and will actually make the situation worse to deal with. Just remember, they can’t help the way they’re feeling, but you can help make things easier for them.
The earlier you start taking your child to the dentist and acting like it’s totally normal, the better. They can build relationships with the dentist and see there’s nothing to worry about. They may even look forward to going, especially when they find out they’ll get a sticker!
If your child has questions, be as open as possible. Give them an overview of what to expect, using positive and non-scary language. For example, don’t talk about drills and injections. Talk about things like how cool it is to have strong teeth and how yummy they thought the toothpaste was last time!
Always model behaviour that you want them to copy, so even if you have your own anxieties about visiting, talk about dental-related things in a positive manner. Laying this foundation when they’re young will ensure healthy habits for their future.
If fears continue, talk to your dentist discreetly to see if there is any professional advice for your situation.
choose a dentist that understands
It goes without saying that you’ll want your child to have a dentist that understands their fears. A good dentist knows lots of little tricks to help them relax. Some may use laughing gas (don’t worry, it’s harmless), while others tell jokes (while maintaining professionalism).
For some procedures or with particularly nervous children, they may employ other methods such as medication or putting your child to sleep. You’ll always be asked for your consent and just remember, dentists have plenty of medical experience and know how to do everything safely.
To book a visit to one of our comfortable and caring smilogy clinics, call us now on 02 8005 4434.
Dr Luke Cronin
As a graduate of the University of Queensland (2000, 2013) and the University of Sydney (2006), Dr Cronin is one of Australia’s leading cosmetic dentists, specialising in creating stunning new smiles with cutting edge cosmetic dentistry techniques, including clear aligners, whitening and porcelain veneers.
Dr Cronin's work has been showcased in Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Elle magazine and in 2019 he was awarded Australasian Dentist of the Year by My Face My Body in 2019.
Acknowledged an expert in his field for segments on the Today Show and House of Wellness, Dr Cronin now offers his first-class cosmetic treatments and customer care at smilogy.