Dental anxiety is a common problem for children and adults alike. While it is understandable that children would be nervous or upset about going to the dentist, it is important for them to overcome their fear and for parents to learn what causes dental anxiety. Going to the dentist is necessary for maintaining a healthy smile, and if your child can feel more comfortable in the dentist’s chair, then everyone will be much better off. Continue reading to learn more about what causes dental anxiety.
What Causes Dental Anxiety?
Before getting into how to help your child overcome dental anxiety, it is important to understand what causes dental anxiety. Dental anxiety could potentially be caused by a variety of factors. Children express discomfort and fear by crying and getting upset and it is important to note when they start showing these feelings. It is also vital to recognize that individual children may react in different ways, especially if one child has visited the dentist when another child has not. Following are potential causes of dental anxiety.
Having A Bad Experience at the Dentist or Another Doctor
The first reason a child may feel anxious at the dentist could be because they had a traumatic experience with a dentist or at a doctor’s office. If this is the case, it is important to be understanding. Let your child know the purpose of going to the dentist and perhaps consider changing where you go to the dentist. A friendly and personable dentist will be more likely to help the child feel better.
Negative Portrayals of Dentists in Media
Another reason why a child may feel anxious about going to the dentist is because they have seen television shows, books, or movies where dentists are portrayed in a negative or scary light. There are some shows that show that the dentist was nothing to be afraid of, but others that show the characters going through a bad experience. This kind of media can damage a child’s view of the dentist and potentially cause them to have dental anxiety.
Feeling Unprepared to Go to The Dentist
If your child has never been to the dentist, they will likely be somewhat nervous. Take this nervousness with a grain of salt, and know that if you do what you can to reduce their fears, then they will likely feel better soon. Likewise, if you choose to spring a dental visit onto your child, they are likely to feel much more afraid than they would have if they were able to prepare for it. Remind your child that the dentist is important and talk about it being a positive experience to go to the dentist.
Being Projected On
Another common reason that children are scared to go to the dentist is because they are sensing fear in other people. For example, if you have a fear of going to the dentist, it is important to not project that feeling onto your child. Find coping strategies for yourself and try to speak about going to the dentist as a good thing to your child. A child may also feel afraid if one of their siblings or friends are afraid of going to the dentist. Again, do what you can to remind your child that it is important and safe to visit the dentist.
Underlying Anxiety Issues
Another potential reason why your child is experiencing dental anxiety could be because he or she generally feels anxious about a lot of things. If your child is experiencing other anxiety-related symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, not sleeping because of bad dreams, constantly worrying, or becoming easily distracted and irritated, it is important to try to talk with your child to help them feel better. You may want to consider having your child speak with a psychologist if their anxiety seems to be severe.
Does Your Child Need Help Overcoming Dental Anxiety?
If you or your child is experiencing extreme dental anxiety, it is important to take proper care to alleviate it. This may include finding a dentist that is compassionate and comfortable with helping children feel less anxious and afraid. We at Granger Pediatric Dentistry are very experienced with providing dental care to children and are aware of how many children can feel when they go to the dentist. With our talented and professional team of dentists, your child will feel much more at home. Reach out to us to learn more about our services or for tips on how to overcome dental anxiety.