Overcoming a Child’s Fear of the Dentist

Overcoming a Child’s Fear of the Dentist
by Terry Victor, DDS, the DC Dentist

One of the most frequent issues patients have with dentistry is fear of the dentist. It could be fear of the dental situation, including fear of the dental “drill”, “needle” or of the unknown. Another big fear is of being in pain. Each of these fears show a level of discomfort and anxiety. These fears usually originate in childhood from a traumatic dental experience.

Children often feel powerless in this adult world. This can be exaggerated especially if the child is forced to have a dental procedure, which may lead to life-long fears of that twice-a-year visit.

Here are some suggestions on how not to traumatize a child going to the dentist.

First, when the child’s very young (one-year-old or younger) have the child come to the dentist with a parent or older sibling. This will show the child the new environment is non-threatening. At that time. their holistic/biological dentist will ask them to open their mouth to take a look. If they do not want to, they are not forced. At the next six-month cleaning appointment, they can come back and try again.

It is amazing to see that same child, by the time they are about 2 years old, come to the dentist and open their mouth for exam and cleaning without any issues.

The next suggestion for a good dental experience is to limit the dental work. It is best if children come to the dentist to have their teeth cleaned. To accomplish this, bring them in early, help them develop good oral hygiene habits with brushing at home and tell them the importance of taking care of their teeth. Another important part of this is to have sealants placed on their teeth when they get their adult back teeth.

These suggestions make a huge difference in the way a child perceives going to the dentist. This will decrease the number of people who experience anxiety when they go to the dentist.

Dr. Terry Victor, The DC Dentist, provides holistic, biological and eco-friendly general restorative and cosmetic dentistry. His practice is located at 509 11th Street SE, on Capitol Hill. For more information, call 202-544-3626 or visit TheDCDentist.com.

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