How Pediatric Dentists Help Manage Common Dental Anxiety Problems in First-Time Visitors

Regular oral health care is important for young children, especially those who may be prone to serious cavities or dental decay. Sadly, dental anxiety may make this process seem nearly impossible and require a specialized pediatric dentist who can handle the unique challenges this places on them.

Oral Health Issues Can Be Common in Children

Experts estimate that just about 20 percent of all children between the ages of 5-11 have some type of oral decay problem. This issue can worsen if they don't get to a dentist because bacteria and plaque have a way of spreading to other parts of the mouth and causing lingering health issues.

Unfortunately, dental anxiety is also a common problem for some young children, especially those who are old enough to start developing cavities and other health issues. Thankfully, a pediatric dentist can help with this problem and prevent many of the adverse reactions a child may experience.

Taking a Child to a Pediatric Dentist for the First Time

Most pediatric dental professionals suggest taking a child to a dentist for the first time when they are about six months old. At this age, a child is unlikely to have the kind of fear or adverse reaction a toddler of 4-5 may experience. During these first early-age visits, a child may react poorly in many ways:

  • Avoidance — Some children may argue with their parents about the need for their visit or try to avoid or postpone it to prevent getting treatment from their dentist.
  • Panic — Even in the waiting room, some children may experience panic attacks that may make their visit harder to handle or even impossible to finish.
  • Aggression — Though not common, some children may strike out at their dentist during care, putting their health at risk during delicate and potentially painful treatments.

Managing these issues requires talking to a child about their visit and letting them meet their dentist before they get treatment. Often, the chance to spend time with a dentist can make them less frightening and give a child a better insight into what experience they may have with them.

Just as importantly, working with a pediatric dentist is critical because these professionals typically have specialized training to understand children. They have open and friendly personalities and will soothe a child's anxiety using a variety of simple steps, including open communication and allowing a child to explore the dentist's environment and even interact with some of their tools to demystify them.

Make an appointment with a pediatric dental care service for more information.