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What We Can Do If Your Child Is Afraid of the Dentist

What We Can Do If Your Child Is Afraid of the Dentist

Any visit to a medical professional can be an assault on a child’s senses thanks to the unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. With dentistry, we can even add taste to the mix of strange sensations. To avoid setting your child up for a lifetime of dental anxiety, our goal is to put your child at ease, right from the start.

At Hillsdale Dental Care, Drs. Magdalena Azzarelli and Roge Jacob have carefully created a practice where both adults and kids can feel relaxed while getting the dental care they need.

If your child is showing signs of dental fear, there are a few steps we can take together to help your child overcome the anxiety to help set them up for a future of great dental health.

Relieving anxiety at home

It’s perfectly understandable that you don’t want your child to develop tooth decay, but statements like, “If you eat more candy, you’re going to have to get a filling,” portray dental work as a negative consequence.

You can flip the narrative of dental work right at home by saying, instead, “Let’s keep your teeth strong and healthy and make the dentist proud by eating less candy!”

In other words, it’s helpful if dental work isn’t viewed as some sort of punishment for dental wrongdoings or missteps.

You can even go a step further and tell good stories about going to the dentist or purchase some of the many childrens’ books designed to ease dental anxiety (some great examples can be found here).

For more great ideas, we’ve pulled together a list of dental tips for parents, which you can access here.

Coming in

If your child has a favorite blanket or toy, we urge you to bring it with you as a stress reliever. You can also tell your child that after coming to see us you’ll do something special or get a reward for being so good. By distracting your child with something to look forward to, the dental appointment will often go more smoothly.

Doing our part

We love kids at our practice, and it shows in how we treat them. First, you can expect a waiting area that’s full of toys, stickers, and cartoons — we even blow up balloons for your child.

When they get comfortable in the chair, we explain to them everything we’re doing and we allow them to touch the instruments and familiarize themselves with the process. Children are naturally curious, and we can turn their dental visit into one in which they’re engaged in exploring.

Our years of experience with pediatric dentistry have shown us that taking time to explain dental health in terms your child understands can make all the difference. 

If your child’s fear is still strong, we’ll go very slowly, and we’ll stop at any point along the way if they’re truly uncomfortable.

If you have more questions about relieving dental anxiety in your child, please feel free to contact our office in San Jose, California, to learn more.

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