Is your child suffering from odontophobia?
Has it ever occurred to you that your child is afraid of the dentist? Fear of going to the hospital or dentist is relatively frequent, even among adults. However, if that dread causes your kid distress or prevents them from attending the dentist, it is time to start paying attention.
What exactly is your child so afraid of? Dental anxiety is a vicious circle. This produces more advanced lesions, more intense therapy, and more fear. First, find out what terrifies your child the most. Is it the sound of the dentist or the needle that bothers your child? Identifying the problem will assist you or your dentist help the youngster. Common dental phobias include:
• Needles: Fear of needles, otherwise known as Trypanophobia, is one of the most common causes of dental fear.
• Sound: The dentist's chamber can be noisy. The sound of dental procedures, especially the sound of the drill, makes many children frightened.
• Pain: If given the anaesthesia properly, dental procedures should not cause any pain.
• Gagging: Some children, particularly those with a previous gagging experience or difficulty breathing from a dental procedure, quickly become scared of another dental visit.
• Blood: During a dental procedure, blood can be spilt, inducing fear among many children.
• The dentist himself: In some cases, the child might be afraid of the dentist as a person. The white coat, the gloves, the masks make a good number of children fearful.
What causes these fears? A child's fear of a dental procedure may stem from a bad dental experience. It is natural for someone to be afraid of dentists if they have a terrible experience. Also, a bad dental experience from a parent, sibling, or close friend can cause dental phobias. Despite the child's inexperience, these painful descriptions create horrific images that are difficult to erase in the child's mind.
Another reason is the use of dentistry to manipulate your child. Negative words like 'needles,' 'injections,' and 'doctors' make children fearful of them.
A child who appears calm in a dental office may suddenly panic when observing another child crying in a dental chair. Finally, children often fear the unknown. A child's fear of the unknown is normal.
By taking certain precautions, you can make sure that your child's visit to a dentist is as enjoyable as it should be.
• Take your child to the dentist for regular check-ups from an early age, even if they do not have any dental issues. In this way, they will get familiarised with the environment of the dental office. It is the best to make the first dental visit as soon as the first tooth erupts.
• Do not induce your fears to your child. For example, it is not uncommon that the parent gets more nervous seeing blood in a dental procedure than the kid.
• Many of the parents use dentists or dental procedures as a threat or punishment. Try not to use words like 'needles' or 'injection' as a threat to the child, or do not scold them by saying things like, 'if you do this again, I'll take you to the dentist'. This creates an intense fear for dentists in the little minds, without even knowing what it means.
• Before going to the dentist, a parent should explain to their kid what will happen. This will reduce a child's fear of the unknown.
So, how to help your child overcome this fear? Try the following tips.
• Try to find out the root cause of this fear and motivate your child accordingly. Remember, your child takes your words as the ultimate truth.
• Take your children to a pediatric dentist. They deal with children throwing tantrums nearly every day.
• It is best if you update the dentist about your child's dental anxiety beforehand. This will help the dentist and his staff to prepare themselves accordingly.
• Understandably, watching your child getting an 'injection' may be overwhelming sometimes. But try your best not to express that in front of your child.
• Nevertheless, if you have followed every step mentioned above and the anxiety is still a part of your child, it is time to consult a professional psychiatrist. Specific techniques like cognitive behavioural therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, etc., and medications in some cases work well to help your child.
Dental phobia and anxiety can negatively affect a child's life. So, take a few steps to help your child overcome odontophobia.