Blog

What to Do if Your Child Is Afraid of the Dentist

Posted by Southeast Family Dental Mar 23,2022

Did you know that around 36% of the entire population has a fear of the dentist? With this kind of anxiety, it’s easy to ignore going to the dentist even when it’s necessary. A person develops all kinds of dental problems because they avoid going to the dentist at all costs.

If your child is afraid of the dentist, it’s important to help them move past this fear as soon as possible. That’s why we’ve put together this guide that’ll give you all the tools you need to help your child with their fear.

Check it out down below!

  • Use Positive Words

Sometimes we create dental anxiety in our children without even realizing it. It all comes down to the types of words we use when we’re explaining the dentist to a child.

You’ll want to avoid words that make your child’s imagination run wild. For example, mentioning the word ‘pain’ gives the wrong impression and incites fear.

Instead, focus on the positive side of a dentist visit and use words to match. It makes a big difference in the way your child views the dentist as a whole.

  • Explain the Procedure

With positivity in mind, it’s a good idea to explain what your child can expect to happen during the visit. The unknown makes fear even stronger. That’s why you should tell your child what’s going to happen regardless if they’re going for a dental checkup or a more in-depth procedure.

Remember to avoid using frightening words, however. It’s better to give your child more of an idea of what to expect rather than any specific details that sound scary.

  • Play Pretend

Creating a game where your child gets to explore the dental world is a great way to help offset any fears. Take turns playing both the dentist and the patient so that your child gets the whole experience.

This is a helpful exercise that turns a frightening situation into a neat game. It puts a fun spin on the idea of a dentist visit which carries over to future visits with a real dentist.

Plus, your child might even be excited to meet a real dentist after playing as one!

  • Set a Good Example

How long has it been since you’ve gone to the dentist? If you want to help your child learn to overcome their fear, you’ll need to set a good example.

Go to the dentist for frequent checkups and make sure to inform your child when you go. They’ll see that it’s a normal occurrence. They’ll see that you’re not scared of the dentist so they don’t need to be afraid either.

Your child always watches what you do, so make sure you show them the kind of behavior you hope they’ll replicate.

  • Read Books About Dentists

Another great way to help your child feel more comfortable around dentists is to read about them in children’s books. There are many types of books about dentists that have this goal in mind.

Read a couple of these during storytime instead of your regular book choices. This helps your child understand the idea of the dentist without any other fears getting in the way.

Taking the time to read these kinds of books starts your child on the journey of understanding the importance of good oral health.

  • Meet the Dental Care Team

Going into a new building full of strangers is never a great way to start a dental checkup. It’s not only overwhelming but it also amplifies any fears before the procedure even begins.

That’s why it’s a great idea to take your child to the dentist’s office before the appointment. Meet as many people on the staff as possible. Call ahead of time and schedule a short meeting with your child’s dentist so that they can get to know one another.

This activity creates a bond between your child and the people who’ll be taking care of their teeth for years to come. Your child knows everything will be okay because they recognize the dentist and view them as a friend instead of a stranger.

  • Bring a Comforting Distraction

If your child has a favorite toy, bring it with them during the visit. You’ll want to make sure that the toy is not too big or loud or else it might get in the way of the dentist. When in doubt, contact the office beforehand and ask if it’s okay.

Having a familiar presence in the room during the dental procedure helps your child feel comfortable. It gives them something else to think about as the dentist works.

If a toy doesn’t do the trick, try bringing a pair of earbuds and some music. A tablet with their favorite cartoon could also be a great way to keep your child calm during the visit.

  • Reward Courage

When your child works hard to be brave, it’s good to reward that behavior. Take them out to the park or a movie after the visit. Let them know that they did good and that you’re proud of them.

It’s important that you don’t inform your child that you plan to reward them after the dentist visit. If they know about it beforehand, it’ll emphasize the wrong part of the situation. They won’t work towards overcoming their fear, they’ll only work towards getting a treat.

By rewarding your child with encouragement and a bit of fun, they’ll associate these good feelings with the dentist. They’ll have a much easier time going to the dentist again in the future!

  • No Longer Will Your Child Be Afraid of the Dentist

Overcoming fear is never a quick and easy endeavor, but by using this guide, you’re building a good foundation. You’re giving your child all of the right tools they need to no longer be afraid of the dentist.

Oral health is so important to your child’s wellbeing, so don’t delay in putting this guide into action. Getting past their fear at a young age is a gift that’ll keep on giving throughout their entire life!

Don’t forget to check out our services to see how we can help you and your child with all your dental care needs!

Leave A Reply

Please fill all the fields.
More Blog Posts
Is gum disease really that common?
Is gum disease really that common?

You might scoff at your dentist’s urging to brush, floss and care for your gums. It might sound like a broken record, but all of us here at Southeast Family Dental are willing to sound like broken records if it can prevent our patients from having to deal with gum disease. Gum disease is much more common than you might believe. It begins with gingivitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. Gum disease varies in severity and is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed. POOR DENTAL HYGIENE Most often, gum disease, beginning with gingivitis is the result of poor dental hygiene. Inflammation is caused by bacteria that is trapped between teeth and gums and allowed to grow. Without intervention, gingivitis can become periodontitis and cause loss of the bone support around the teeth. For this reason, gum disease causes tooth loss. Patients don’t recognize gum disease as a problem because it often presents itself as localized in one area of the mouth. A sore gum next to one tooth doesn’t seem like such a big deal to some. However, left untreated, one small sore place can become a major oral health issue. Besides noting red, swollen gums, dentists check for gum disease by measuring the pockets between the gums and teeth. That’s why they probe and record depth measurements during your check-up. Changes in those measurements can indicate the presence of gum disease. STEPS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF DEVELOPING GUM DISEASE There are steps every person can take to reduce their risk for developing gum disease: * See your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings * Brush your teeth at least twice each day * Floss daily * Rinse your teeth after meals when you cannot brush Preventive care with the Southeast Family Dental practice is the first step to oral health. In fact, it is not uncommon for Dr. Geiger, Dr. Jones, and Dr. Miller to find evidence of gum disease. Studies have shown that up to 75% of adults over age 35 are affected by gum disease and they don’t even realize it. Gum disease can affect your overall health condition. For that reason, you will find that Southeast Family Dental provides extensive gum disease therapy. Our goal is to keep your teeth healthy – as well as to reduce the risk of other conditions like diabetes and heart disease through good oral health. Contact us today to make sure you aren’t risking your health because of unrecognized gum disease.

5 Tips to Take Good Care of Your Teeth When Traveling
5 Tips to Take Good Care of Your Teeth When Traveling

If you’re like the dentists at Southeast Family Dental, one of the first things you get packed when preparing to travel is your toothbrush and toothpaste. If you aren’t like them and are thinking more of bathing suits and sunscreen, that’s okay, we still have you covered. Here are several tips from the staff at Southeast Family Dental for taking good care of your teeth while you are traveling: * Take your dentist’s phone number with you. You never know when there will be a slip or fall that results in a dental emergency and you have a critical question about your teeth. Even if you can’t access the emergency care you would at home, having that link could prove to be invaluable. Plus, you might want your dentist to be prepared to provide restorative care on your teeth once your travel is finished and you get home. * Use the American Dental Association website to find a local dentist in the place you are traveling. Yes, there are dentists all over that will open their door to you in an emergency. However, you won’t know the local area and want to be reassured that the dentist you choose to trust with your teeth and smile is qualified and reputable. * Keep your toothbrush ventilated. If you have a travel container or cap to store it in your bag, be sure it is ventilated. Enclosed containers or plastic bags create a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Bacteria can not only encourage decay on your teeth and infection in your gums, but it can make you sick as well. Keep your toothbrush well-ventilated so it can dry out. * Solutions if you have forgotten your toothbrush in your travel bag: a. Clean your teeth by swishing your mouth with water after eating b. Use your finger or a washcloth to apply toothpaste to your teeth. Be sure to get both the inside and outside of your teeth – and gums! c. Ask at the front desk if they have a complimentary replacement toothbrush for you, and, if not, if there is a gift shop for those traveling without their own toothbrush. d. Make a point to find a pharmacy or store that sells toothbrushes. It’s not only people who travel who need toothbrushes, resident of every place you are traveling want clean teeth, too! * Keep sugarless gum handy. If you are traveling a long distance, especially by air, you might not have the opportunity to brush your teeth for a long period. Chewing gum is one way to not only keep your ears from hurting with changing altitudes, but it can help clean your teeth and freshen your breath, too. Just be sure it is sugarless; you don’t want to add bacteria-creating fuel to the food lodged between your teeth. Traveling can be the highlight of any season and taking good care of your teeth, although maybe not your first priority while on holiday, is one way to make sure your travel is pleasant. Getting a toothache can ruin any day, but it would be even more distressing if you were on vacation. Here at Southeast Family Dental, we know that with regular preventative care, you and your teeth will be prepared for excitement and fun wherever your travels take you because we give you a reason to smile!

Is there an incorrect way to use an electric toothbrush?
Is there an incorrect way to use an electric toothbrush?

When the century turned from the 1800s to the 1900s there was a huge surge of technology to make life easier, especially for domestic goddesses… housewives. There were electric appliances of all sorts that made their way into homes: toasters, mixers, vacuum sweepers, and washing machines. All these new electric innovations really made life easier and were much more efficient and effective. Today we just accept all these appliances as the norm in our homes, but back then, each of them was revolutionary! Later, toothbrushes were electrified and teeth were given the super-duper cleaning treatment. This is one that every dentist, including us here at Southeast Family Dental, are still excited about! The novelty of the electric toothbrush still delights users so brushing becomes a more regular event for adults and children alike. The problem is that while we learned to let appliances do the work in many instances, we still may not be using the electric toothbrush properly. Why, you ask? There are several ways that you could be using your electric toothbrush for brushing your teeth that is making it less effective. * Many electric toothbrush users press the bristles too hard against the teeth. Stronger pressure does NOT equate to cleaner teeth. Hold the electric toothbrush lightly against the teeth to given them a good brushing. * Another point about holding the electric toothbrush the best way is to hold it angled at 45 degrees so the brush is touching the gums. Brushing your gums while brushing your teeth helps to stave off gum disease. * Sometimes electric toothbrush users keep the device in constant movement. The best practice is to keep it on one or two teeth at a time. * Another point about moving the electric toothbrush is that there is no need to move your electric toothbrush in an up/down or left/right motion. Let the electric toothbrush do the work! Relax and just enjoy the fact that it is doing the work and brushing your teeth for you! * The last point to remember to use your electric toothbrush appropriately is to replace the toothbrush heads when needed. Some show their wear from brushing with frayed bristles. Other brands of electric toothbrushes have a fade indicator built into the heads of their devices. Just be sure to pay attention to the condition of the heads and replace them when needed. Part of good oral hygiene Brushing your teeth regularly is an important part of good oral hygiene. Another is seeing a dentist for check-ups on a regular basis. Preventive care helps you maintain your teeth longer and can actually improve your overall general health. Here at Southeast Family Dental we want everyone to be healthy, which is why we provide sedation dentistry for those who get nervous about dental visits. We want to give you a reason to smile!

What is the best choice of drink for your teeth?
What is the best choice of drink for your teeth?

If you cried out, “Water!” you are absolutely correct. The sugar content in drinks like soda pops and juices can be staggering and more people are becoming aware of that because of the calorie issues. But what is less known is the effect of the acids in drinks, including alcoholic libations. The acids have a negative impact on the enamel on your teeth, eating it away and leaving teeth vulnerable to decay and sensitivity. Even with that knowledge, however, we don’t always opt for a glass of water instead. Besides the argument that we LIKE the other drinks, what else holds us back? The dentists and team at Southeast Family Dental have wondered and talked about that. Our patients have told us that they drink tap or bottled water at home for the most part—after the initial few cups of coffee in the morning. We noticed they were very particular in saying they drink water AT HOME. Interestingly, this is not a phenomenon unique to the United States. A recent article at Dentistry Today reports that the Local Government Association (LGA) in the United Kingdom says that 8 out of 10 people usually drink tap water at home, but only a third do so while dining out. And, 15% of those who drink tap water at home don’t even think to ask for it in a restaurant. So What Is the Story About Water and Drinks When Dining Out? One of the points that came out of our office discussions is that people (in the US and abroad) may feel awkward just ordering water in a restaurant. So we started paying attention to what happens in restaurants. Here are some of the observations we made: * No mention is made of water as a drink option at all in fast-food restaurants. * Few restaurants automatically bring a glass of water to the table. * Most restaurants will bring water if requested. * Some restaurants will provide bottled water or specialty water at a cost. In years past restaurants would automatically bring water to the table for each person when you were seated. That is simply not the case any longer. It seems that restaurants don’t offer water and often discourage people from ordering water. In Europe, tap water is most often considered just like any other drink order in restaurants. You pay for the glass of liquid and refills are at the cost of another drink. But that is not the case in most of the restaurants in the United States. The Southeast Family Dental dentists delight at the option of lots of free refills of water glasses here. We want to find out what our patients and readers actually drink when dining out. So we would like you to answer a poll (it’s quick and easy!). Although we offer a wide array of services from preventive dentistry to restorative dentistry solutions, and even cosmetic dentistry, our practice wants all our patients to have the healthiest teeth and oral health possible. Drinking water may seem like a small change, but it can have huge benefits for you. Contact our office to schedule a dental check-up soon. A healthy mouth is good for the rest of your body’s health, too! Please, take our poll and be honest! We really want to know.

Would a Dog Calm Your Fears at the Dentist?
Would a Dog Calm Your Fears at the Dentist?

Do you suffer from fears and anxiety when going to the dentist? Or, maybe a trip to the dentist is a scary event for your child, which also stresses you out? Dental fears, anxiety and phobia are extremely common. It’s estimated that between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fears. Some people (perhaps up to 20%) experience so much anxiety that they’ll only go to the dentist when it’s absolutely necessary. People experience dental anxiety and fears for various reasons, including: * Previous bad experiences at the dentist’s office. * Fear of pain. * Feeling helpless or not in control of the situation. * Embarrassment about the state of their teeth and gums. Being unfamiliar with the instruments, noises and smells in the dental office. This is especially true for young children. At Southeast Family Dental, we understand how the dentist’s office can cause anxiety and fears. But calming fears isn’t just for kids, some adults need help calming their anxiety at the dentist, too. So a dentist located in Northbrook, IL, has found an ingenious way to do just that. He brings a trained comfort dog into his office. The golden retriever soothes nervous kids and adults alike by comforting them during dental exams. In fact, the golden retriever has a sixth sense when it comes to figuring out exactly who needs him the most. A comfort dog really is an excellent idea to calm dental fears, because animals tend to have a soothing effect on people. Other ideas that dentists may use to calm your fears, include: * Providing you with an iPad and headphones, so you can listen to relaxing music or watch a TV program to distract you. * Offering you a blanket for warmth, comfort and the feeling of security. * Giving you nitrous oxide or other sedatives to help you feel relaxed during dental exams or procedures. If you suffer from dental anxiety and fears, talk to our team at Southeast Family Dental. We can talk to you about what to expect during your appointment and help you find ways to ease your fears. We want to make sure your dental experience is as calm, comfortable and stress-free as possible for you.

Location

6020 Southeastern Ave,
Indianapolis, IN 46203

Office Hours

MON - THU:8:00 am-5:00 pm

FRI:8:00 am-2:00 pm

SAT - SUN:Closed