Tips for Managing Children’s and Teens’ Dental Phobia

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If your child screams, runs, faints or threatens to run away whenever you mention an upcoming dental appointment, you’re not alone. An intense fear of the dentist can cause major stress for you and your child. Because routine exams and dental treatments are essential for healthy development of teeth and gums, avoiding dental visits is not a wise decision. Don’t worry; help is available. The following suggestions can make dental visits less frightening.

Fear of the Dentist in Infants and Toddlers

Be sure your baby has been to the dentist by his or her first birthday. Your child can easily pick up on your own dental anxiety, so maintain a calm and soothing demeanor and discuss dental topics in positive terms only. To make dental visits more comfortable, bring along a favorite toy or blanket.

Dental Phobia in Teenagers



Try to keep in mind that a teenager is more likely to hide their fear of the dentist because of embarrassment. Encourage your teen to ask questions, and share concerns about dental anxiety or concerns about an upcoming dental appointment. Understanding what is going to happen during treatment can help decrease fear. Ask the dentist to explain procedures in detail, so your teen will know what to expect. You can also introduce your teen to meditation, biofeedback, or guided relaxation programs to help ease anxiety.

Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

Find a dentist who specializes in treating children who suffer from dental anxiety. Many pediatric dentists have kid-friendly waiting rooms with bright decor and a number of toys, games, and other distractions to make visits more enjoyable. After a successful dental exam, be sure to praise and reward your child for good behavior.

Don’t Pass Your Own Dental Anxiety Down to Your Children

However you choose to battle your own fear of the dentist, don’t share your dental anxiety with your children. A nationwide study released by Delta Dental in conjunction with National Anxiety Month in April, showed that a parent’s dental anxiety can be passed along to children. The poll revealed that the percentage of parents affected by dental phobia matched the percentage of children reporting the same fear of the dentist. To avoid sharing your fearful view of dentistry with your children, it’s important to manage your own negative emotions. A variety of anxiety-busting techniques can make your treatment experience easier; these include meditation, guided relaxation, use of headphones, and the presence of a good friend or family member.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in Philadelphia, call Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania today at (215) 789-9675 or make an appointment.

Gentle Dental offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Philadelphia. With 14 affiliated practices in the Greater Philadelphia area, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania.

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