DENTAL FEARS & ANXIETY

Your comfort is at the heart of our practice.


Dental FEARS & ANXIETIES

Some of the most common fears and anxieties for children include:

  • Fear of sharp instruments

  • Fear of gagging

  • Fear of injections/needles

  • Fear of loss of control

  • Fear of the unknown

• Fear of not becoming numb

• Fear of pain

• Fear of the dentist as a person

• Fear of the hand piece (or the drill)

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COMMON CALMING METHODS

We realize how often fears and anxieties occur among our child patients, and we use the following methods to ease these issues:

Talking slowly, and in terms/language they understand.

Using large, unpronounceable words, or talking faster than a child can follow is more likely to cause anxiety. It’s important that they understand what the doctor, hygienist, or assistant is saying, so they feel more comfortable before, during and after the procedure.

Displaying a compassionate attitude towards children.

We understand that children of all ages may be uneasy at the dentist, whether it’s their first visit, or 20th visit. Our team is always careful to keep the child’s fears and concerns in mind during procedures, acknowledging that their feelings are normal, and ensuring them that everything will be okay.

Showing and telling patients what we are doing.

We feel that patients, especially children, respond well to seeing what is being done, as well as hearing what we’re doing, and why. The more information we can give them, the better.

Using a mirror to watch.

In some cases, we will have the patient hold a mirror, so they can watch exactly what we’re doing. It gives some of the control back to the patient, and results in reduced fear and anxiety.

Using nitrous oxide.

When the methods above prove ineffective, or additional relief is required, we do offer nitrous oxide to calm the patient.

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OVERCOMING DENTAL ANXIETY

Dental visits can be stressful for parents, especially for those who have dental phobias themselves.  It is imperative for parents to continually communicate positive messages about dental visits (especially the first one), and to help the child feel as happy as possible about visiting the dentist.

Pediatric dentists and the dental team aim to make the child feel as welcome as possible during all visits. There are several things parents can do to make the first visit enjoyable.  Some helpful tips include:

Take another adult along for the visit.

Sometimes infants become fussy when having their mouths examined.  Having another adult along to soothe the infant allows the parent to ask questions and to attend to any advice the dentist may have.

Leave other children at home.

Other children can distract the parent and cause the infant to fuss. Leaving other children at home (when possible) makes the visit less stressful for all concerned.

Avoid threatening language.

Pediatric dentists and the dental team are trained to avoid the use of threatening language.  It is imperative for parents to use positive language when speaking about dental treatment with their child.  Please support us by NOT USING negative words often used in dental care:

DON’T USE

needle or shot
drill
drill the tooth
pull or yank
decay or cavity
exam
tooth cleaning
explorer
gas

USE

sleepy juice /water
cleaner
clean the tooth
wiggle out
sugar bug
count teeth
tickle teeth
toothpick
magic nose