It is common for kids to fear the unfamiliar. Although a common scenario is going to the dental clinic for a check-up, there is always a first time for everything, and exposing them to such situations will help them. However, anxiety can get in the way. When they are afraid of dentists, this can lead to dental problems in the future.
Pediatric dentists or dentists, in general, are more than aware of the fear that children feel whenever the idea of going to the dentist is brought up. It can be challenging for parents to convince their children to go. However, it is best for both the children and the parents to understand the reason behind it.
What is the Fear of Dentists Called?
The extent of a child’s anxiety when going to the dentist can vary from fear to phobia. Fear is a strong dislike towards something that may lead a person to avoid it. However, fear often manifests itself when you’re already in the situation.
On the other hand, a phobia is a much worse form of fear that makes a person avoid the situation altogether. It can cause extreme distress. The fear of dentists is called dentophobia (or odontophobia). The mere mention of the dentist can cause nightmares or panic attacks.
What Are the Reasons Why Children Are Afraid of Dentists?
There are a variety of reasons why children become anxious when visiting the dentist. Here are some of the reasons:
What parents do, the children tend to follow. If they notice that their parents are also anxious about the idea of going to the dentist, the children might feel the same way. It is important for parents not to paint dentists in a bad light. It is also essential that you remain cheerful and light-hearted when you come back from a dental appointment. As much as possible, keep any bad experiences you had to yourself.
2. Awful First Experience
Your child’s first experience can either make or break the whole thing for them. If they had an awful experience with your go-to dentist, they probably wouldn’t want to go back again. It is important to establish a dental clinic as a safe space. You can try bringing them for minor procedures or a standard check-up for them to become acquainted with the place.
3. Fear of the Unknown
An unfamiliar situation is always scary for people, especially children. It’s a natural reaction when they’re sitting in a dental chair, in a strange room, surrounded by people they don’t know. The tools and equipment they’ll see will not help the situation. You can help them overcome their fear by introducing them to the dentist and choosing a dentist specializing in children.
4. Separation Anxiety
Not every child is comfortable when their parents are not around. More often than not, they might cry and fuss. Some dentists may allow you to be with your child and hold their hands. However, this is not always the case. The best thing you can do is look for a licensed pediatric dentist. They know how to calm and comfort your children by keeping them engaged in a conversation. The procedure will be over without them even realizing it.
5. Fear of Injury or Pain
Another apparent reason children have a fear of dentists is that they associate them with pain. However, the world of dentistry constantly evolves. There are now painless techniques and procedures that will make everything easier for your child. When you find the right dentist, and with your guidance, dental appointments will be a breeze.
It is essential to explain to kids the importance of proper oral hygiene. Besides that, introducing them to a family-friendly dentist will ease them into the transition. Now that you know why your children are afraid of the dentist, you’ll now understand how to approach the situation.
If you or your child don’t know how to get over the fear of the dentist, choosing the right dentist will do you good. At Sunrise Dentistry, our Durango, CO dentists can help your children feel comfortable. Our friendly atmosphere will make your kids excited to go to us. Schedule an appointment now!