Tips for Easing Dental Anxiety in Children

For some children, a trip to the dentist can evoke feelings of fear and anxiety. We’ve heard of many parents who don’t even tell their children they are going to the dentist until they are in the car! At Vacendak we do all we can to make our patients comfortable, however, we recognize that some—especially children—may need a little more encouragement to get through a dental visit. If you have a child who gets anxious before and during dental appointments, try these tips to help get them in a calm state of mind.

  • Explain the process. A big part of dental anxiety if the unknown. A few days before the appointment, explain to your child what will happen during their dental visit. For regular cleanings, you can likely walk them through the steps of the appointment. If your child needs a cavity filled or other dental work, call the office ahead of time to get a rundown of what will happen. Give your child an idea of how long it will take, what it will feel like, and what the end result will be when the appointment is finished.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. The night before your appointment, make sure that your child gets to bed on time. Getting a full night’s rest will soothe your child’s nerves and allow them to feel less anxious. If your child is having a more involved procedure, getting a good night’s sleep will also help them recover more easily.
  • Have a pre-appointment snack. A hangry child can be difficult under normal circumstances, but when they have to go to the dentist, their emotions can run wild. Providing your child with a pre-appointment snack can put them in a better mood and help to settle their nerves. After the snack, brush their teeth if possible.
  • Use headphones if acceptable. Many dental procedures can be done while a child is wearing headphones. Listening to fun music or a favorite podcast can distract the child during the appointment. This can allow the dentist or dental hygienist to get the job done as quickly as possible.
  • Praise them for a job well done. Once the appointment is over, let your child know how proud you are of them! The next time they have to go to the dentist, they’ll remember your praise and may not feel as anxious.

Regular dental visits are important for children, as they help prevent cavities and tooth decay, and promote healthy habits. To schedule an appointment for your child at Vacendak Dentistry, call us at (757) 609-3510 or contact us online.