Tips To Help Your Child Overcome Dental Anxiety Before Appointments 

Is your child worried about their first braces appointment? Visiting the dentist or orthodontist might not always feel like a walk in the park, and for many kids, dental anxiety can make appointments a stressful experience. While it is highly common, dental anxiety can be overcome, and with our team of experts by your side, you and your child can breathe a sigh of relief. Here is a list of Dr. Kyle and Dr. John’s top tips to help your child overcome dental anxiety before appointments from the pros at Saddle Creek Orthodontics

What Is Dental Anxiety? 

You know the feeling you get when you’re worried: sweaty palms, fast heartbeat, maybe even a sense of dread. It’s uncomfortable, to say the least, and when your child feels anxious, you probably feel anxious, too. 

At the root of it, dental anxiety is stress or fear at the thought of visiting the orthodontist or dentist’s office. It makes sense: as a child, it is perfectly normal to feel resistant to someone poking around your mouth. Even the sounds and smells of a dental office can be enough to trigger feelings of nervousness, embarrassment, or fear. 

But as adults, we know that the orthodontist’s office is a safe, welcoming, and healthy place to be. The best way to keep up with your child’s oral hygiene is to help them feel comfortable in the dental chair. By reducing their dental anxiety, you and your child can both feel more at ease. 

How To Overcome Dental Anxiety

Tip #1: Start Visiting Early

As with anything in life, getting used to a new idea is easier the early we begin the process. By introducing your child to their pediatric dentist as early in their life as possible, and then by bringing them in for orthodontic appointments by age 7, you can show them over and over that there is nothing to fear. 

Frequent, early appointments will also help your child become more comfortable with their dentist or orthodontist, which can go a long way towards overcoming dental anxiety. If they know and like the person who will be giving them checkups, they might even be excited for their next appointment!

Taking the time to build this relationship will normalize these appointments for your child, helping them feel like there is nothing out of the ordinary or scary about visiting their orthodontist or dentist. 

Tip #2: Use Positive Reinforcement

There’s nothing like a treat after doing something you were afraid to do! It takes bravery to visit the dentist or orthodontist when you’re feeling scared to do so, and Dr. Kyle and Dr. John agree that that courage should be rewarded. Be sure to tell your child, no matter how young or old, that attending regular appointments is healthy for their smiles. You may want to remind them that at the end of their orthodontic journey, they’ll have the grin they’ve always wanted – and the confidence to go along with it! 

If your child is very young, bringing a stuffed animal or blanket might also help reduce their stress. You should also feel free to sit with them during appointments to reassure them that there is nothing to worry about. 

Tips To Help Your Child Overcome Dental Anxiety Before Appointments 

Tip #3: Read Books or Watch Videos to Prepare

Early exposure is excellent for easing anxiety, but that doesn’t always mean a trip to the orthodontist. Sometimes, you will find the most success by simply reading books or watching videos that show other children feeling comfortable at their appointments. These stories can prepare them for what they can expect at their visit, and they can even make an orthodontist or dental visit seem fun and exciting. 

The first book on your list might be Dr. Kyle’s “All the Best Faces Wear Braces!” You can learn more about our practice’s children’s book here.  

Tip #4: Discuss Feelings & Concerns

Sometimes, it’s as simple as a good talk to get these feelings off their chest. Giving your child the space to share their concerns about visiting the orthodontist for the first time can do two things: it helps them vent it out and allows you to address each of their concerns with clarity and calm. Validating their emotions before providing a logical explanation to replace them can help your child ease into the idea of going to the dentist and could even alleviate their worry altogether. 

You can also encourage your child to express their feelings with their orthodontist before the appointment begins. Orthodontists with experience working with children like Dr. Kyle and Dr. John are very receptive to these conversations and can use the opportunity to educate your child on what they can expect from the process as well as what they will do throughout the time they’re in the dental chair. Simply knowing what is to come can be enough to put many fears at rest. 

Tip #5: Be a Good Role Model

Kids are sponges, and as their role models, you have a huge impact on how they will behave in any given situation. Because they follow your lead, it’s important to visit the dentist yourself to show them there is nothing to fear. You can also show them how to brush and floss by watching you do the same. Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine can continue to normalize all aspects of oral health for them so they feel more comfortable about the idea of going to the orthodontist. 

Tips To Help Your Child Overcome Dental Anxiety Before Appointments 

Join the Saddle Creek Orthodontics Kids Club!

By following these tips, you can bring your child a step closer to overcoming their dental anxiety – but by bringing them to Saddle Creek Orthodontics, you can show them that getting braces can be kid-friendly, fun, and comfortable. Our Kids Club is designed to help children enjoy their orthodontic visits – we even have a Mascot: Sully the Sloth! 

If your child is seven or older, it’s time for their first orthodontics appointment. Call to schedule their fear-free braces consultation today!