Children are unique individuals with personal preferences and anxieties. Some children have a higher level of anxiety when it comes to new situations. Visiting a dentist for the first time, for example, may be no big deal for one child and a fearful experience for another. Professionals who interact with children know how to approach with patience and understanding. For parents with an anxious child, it may be helpful to prepare for the experience in advance.
Make sure the staff at the pediatric dentist office knows that you have concerns about your child’s fears. They will be happy to answer your questions in advance of your child’s appointment. Here are some suggestions as to what you may want to ask:
Are there particular staff members I should request?
Find out if there are particular hygienists who are best at working with fearful children or those who focus on first-time visits. If the office is a pediatric specialty, it is likely that any hygienist will do a great job. It never hurts to ask, though.
Does the staff have any specialized clinical training?
Most pediatric dentists get special training to treat children with special needs, and this is often helpful with anxious children as well. In addition to preparing dental staff for interaction with an anxious child, specialized training may also help them to provide guidance to parents regarding at-home care.
What forms of distraction are available during the dental exam?
Distraction is a good way to calm a child’s worries during the dental visit. You may want to ask if the office has televisions or simple toys to squeeze. If not, you may want to bring a favorite comfort item from home. A parent can discuss with dental staff the distraction techniques that may work best for the needs of their anxious child.
Is a pre-appointment available?
Taking an anxious child to the dental office for a pre-appointment can be very helpful. This allows him to see the office, meet the staff, and look at the equipment before having anything done.
Having a highly anxious child can make dental procedures more difficult, but pediatric dental professionals work with care and compassion. If your child is fearful, talk with your dentist to discuss your options and prepare for the visit. We have appointments available at Brier Creek Pediatric Dentistry, and we welcome you to contact us today.