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Dental Anxiety In Children: Causes & Useful Management Tips For Parents

Dr. Eman Afroze

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Table of Contents

What is dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety in children refers to a fear or apprehension specifically related to dental visits and procedures. It is a common phenomenon and can manifest in various forms, ranging from mild nervousness to severe anxiety or phobia. Several factors contribute to dental anxiety in children.

  1. Past Bad experience: Previous dental experience can highly effect a child’s next dental appointment depending on weather it was good or bad. It is likely that the child will have an anxiety or constant fear if he had a bad experience previously.
  2.  Negative Parental conditioning: As a parent if you are going to tell your children “Doctor is going inject you if you misbehaved” or “ He is going to take your teeth out if you start shouting” . All these sentences are going to create an impression of the doctor as wicked.
  3. Parental influence: If parents will panic or seem to be frightened sitting on a dental chair, in front of their children. Then they are going to pick these attitudes which will eventually create dental anxiety in the longer run without any solid reason.
  4. Lack of control:  Some children feel highly insecure sitting on a dental chair alone which can alleviate their anxiety.

Management tips for Parents:

  1. Positive reinforcement: Always give positive affirmations to your children regarding dentists for example “ the doctor is going to make your teeth shiny and more stronger” or “ He is going to wash away all bad monster sticking in your teeth” .
  2. Bringing comfort item: For children who feel insecure on a dental chair , parents can bring with them their most favorite toy to which they are strongly attached, telling them that we are going to show doctor their teeth as well.
  3. Open communication:  It is of utmost importance to discuss with your children in a comfortable relaxed manner all their fears and concerns regarding dental visit so that they can be addressed and sorted out.
  4. Sedation: For a child who already had a very bad and painful experience from previous dentist , it is likely that the child will start screaming and get frightened by sitting on a dental chair.

Patient should consider sedation option for their children, in which a dentist completes all dental treatments in a single visit while the child is sedated.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Eman Afroze
Dr. Eman Afroze - Author Dr. Eman Afroze is a top dentist in Rawalpindi. You can consult her through oladoc.com

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