Is Your Child a Nervous Dental Patient?

Is Your Child a Nervous Dental Patient?

Dental anxiety is something that any child can experience. Whether it stems from a bad experience or is just due to their naturally nervous temperament, a visit to the dentist can be particularly distressing for these children. A little fear of the unknown is perfectly normal, but if your child seems particularly anxious or scared, they may have a dental phobia. Thankfully, our team is very experienced at working with children and making their visits to our practice warm, welcoming and without worry. To find out more about what can make your child a nervous dental patient and what we can do to ease their anxiety, please read on.

Why Children Get Dental Anxiety

It is generally thought that most adults who are nervous about visiting the dentist, developed their phobia during childhood. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it makes sense to recognise and address any nerves your child might be feeling so that they can have a healthy relationship with going to the dentist as this will help them to maintain good oral health throughout their lives. Let’s look at some of the common scenarios that might result in a child having a dental phobia:

  • Memories of a previous painful experience
  • Moving to a new dentist, particularly after a bad experience
  • Hearing negative stories about dental treatments
  • Picking up on anxiety felt by parents
  • The sight, feel or sound of dental instruments
  • Unfamiliar smell of the dental practice
  • Having a naturally nervous disposition

How to Tell if Your Child is Nervous About Visiting the Dentist

Fear and anxiety can present themselves in many different ways, so if your child is behaving differently in the days and hours leading up to a scheduled appointment, you might like to look out for some of the common signs of anxiety, these include:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Going to the toilet frequently
  • Gagging or feeling sick
  • Sweating or trembling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Refusing to go to the appointment
  • Refusing to open their mouth when they get there

What We Do To Help Nervous Patients

As a dental practice specifically set up for children, we make the fears and worries of little ones our primary concern and do everything we can to make a trip to Marsh House a happy and pleasant experience. In addition to our welcoming manner and colourful setting, we also have a few tricks up our sleeve to ease anxiety.

Firstly, we use The Wand – this is a pain free alternative to dental injections and is particularly useful for children whose anxiety stems from needles. This precise local anaesthetic only numbs the tooth being treated so children don’t feel the strange sensation of large areas of their mouths being completely numb.

Secondly, we can offer inhalation sedation to children who have dental anxiety. This happy air, also known as ‘laughing gas’ is delivered by our sedation-trained dentists and enables us to carry out dental treatments without your child feeling pain or nerves.

Whether your child is a nervous dental patient or not, there are always ways that you can prepare them at home to make the experience more familiar. This might include role playing, showing your child pictures of our practice before they attend, being careful about the words you use when describing a visit to the dentist – i.e. avoiding things like ‘pain’ and ‘blood’ or ‘needles’ and bringing one of your child’s favourite toys with them to help them feel safe and comfortable.

It is also really helpful if you can let us know about any past bad experiences your child has had at a dental practice or any other medical situation that made them nervous. This helps our team to prepare and ensure your child is made to feel safe, comfortable and well looked after so that we don’t trigger any past anxieties.

Please follow the link to find out more about our full range of treatments, including the ways in which we can help a nervous dental patient. To book an appointment for your child please call us on 020 8646 6300 or click here to send us a message.