Dentist appointments can be intimidating for anyone, especially young children. New and uncomfortable experiences, such as a dental appointment can cause apprehension, nervousness, and fear.
But how can you tell if your child is dealingwith an expected amount of nervousness or a real dental phobia? Dental anxiety, also known as dental fear, is indeed real. Thankfully, there are ways to help control and manage it.
Your McAllen pediatric dentists want to share vital information about dental fear and how you can help your little hero feel completely comfortable when visiting their dentist.
What Is Dental Fear?
Surprisingly, dental anxiety affects almost 40% of Americans.
Dental fear is anxiety, stress, fear, or severe emotional distress that arises when in a dental office. Dental equipment and drill noises can trigger fear in your little ones (and adults too)!
Dental fear can get so severe that it’s impossible to take your child to an appointment. Once the anxiety prevents dental care, it is considered a phobia.
Your child’s dental anxiety can increase if they already have a history of anxiety or PTSD. Dental fear can also increase if your child has a history of head or neck injuries.
How Can You Tell if Your Child Has Dental Anxiety?
Your child’s well-being is of utmost importance, and this includes their mental health. It is essential to distinguish if your little one is experiencing dental fear and seek treatment if it’s stopping them from getting the dental care they need.
Some symptoms of dental anxiety include:
- excessive sweating
- increased heartbeat or palpitations
- a decline in blood pressure
- obvious emotional distress or panicking
Dental care is vital and shouldn’t be avoided as one’s oral health can affect their overall health. Lack of dental care can also make your child prone to other serious illnesses and conditions.
While dental fear can be a vicious cycle, there are ways to help your child manage it.
Four Tips To Help Your Child Cope With Dental Fear
Don’t hesitate to inform your McAllen pediatric dentists about any anxiety your child has. Our team at Heroes Dental is experienced in helping calm and soothe children when they feel afraid.
You can also help to calm your child’s anxieties before arriving by:
- telling them to take deep breaths
- keeping your child occupied by watching videos or listening to music on a device
- telling them a story or helping them imagine a peaceful scenario
- bringing a weighted blanket for your child to use during their appointment
Please be aware that these tips aren’t meant to replace help from a professional psychologist but can provide a bit of comfort for your little one.