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Strategies that Prevent Dental Fear and Anxiety in Children

By Eddie Storms Subscribe to RSS | March 27th 2012 | Views:

Children are generally impressionable. Many adults who suffer from dental phobia often cite traumatic experiences with the dentist as children as the main cause for their woes. It is important for parents to teach their children not to fear the dentist, and that having regular dental checkups is vital to one’s total well-being.

The dentist’s conduct during a procedure directly affects the development of fear in children. Many adult patients who suffer from dental phobia remember going to the dentist as children, then feeling pain during a procedure. Instead of being reassured, they were humiliated when they complained. The dentist kept telling them negative things like “Stop being a baby,”—a rebuke which forever remained etched in their minds. Though the pain from the treatment soon faded, the emotional scars and fear were carried over into adulthood.

Thankfully, Atlanta dentists have developed procedures that can eradicate or at least alleviate dental anxiety in children. These methods prevent mild anxiety from developing into a more serious phobia. In order for these steps to be successful, dentists advise parents to bring their children for their first dental checkup by the age of two. The sooner the child experiences pain-free dental procedures, the less likely will the child develop dental anxiety in the future.

The initial step that prevents children from experiencing dental anxiety is to frame the dental visit not as a negative event, but as a positive one. Children can easily pick up cues from their parents, so if parents display some fear of the dentist, the child may pick up these vibes and behave in the same manner. Dentists and parents should work hand in hand to make the child’s dental visit a positive experience.

Dentists can assuage any fears by creating a relaxed environment for the children. Having a television in front of the dentist chair tuned in to an age-appropriate station greatly helps because it lets the child’s mind focus on other things. Playing with toys before and after the dental procedure may also be helpful as the toys will give the child something positive to associate with the dentistry Atlanta GA practitioners provide.

Dental treatments should be as quick and painless as possible. A procedure that causes the least discomfort to a child physically and emotionally won’t cause them to develop phobias and avoid dental procedures as adults. Moreover, recent technological developments—like the use of lasers, painkillers, and sedatives in dentistry Atlanta GA procedures—have greatly improved the patients’ experience.

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