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Why Kids Hate the Dentist: And What to Do About It

If your child is afraid of their dentist in Cedar Rapids and Marion, Iowa, it can be hard to get crucial dental care. Why do children have this fear? Many underlying issues trigger this fear, all of which require specialized techniques to manage. Thankfully, overcoming fear and anxiety is something that many parents can do for their children.

Reasons Why Children Fear the Dentist

Many children have a tough time visiting any type of medical professional but find dental care to be particularly difficult. For example, some children may try to avoid getting dental care, pretend that they are sick, throw a tantrum, or do whatever they can to avoid these trips. This behavior is complex and has much to do with the child and how their parents prepare them for dental trips.

First of all, anxiety about pain and dental procedures often cause many children to hate dental care. Simply put, they don’t want to have their teeth drilled if they have a cavity. Or they don’t like the feeling of lying on their back as the technician cleans their teeth. Other reasons include:

  • Dislike of the technician – Sometimes, a child may just not like how their dental professional talks to them, or they may find them unfriendly or overbearing just because they are working on their teeth.
  • Anxiety around the office itself – Many children may find a dental office uncomfortable or off-putting because they are so antiseptic and clean. These feelings often center around feeling out of place or like they don’t belong there.
  • Apprehension waiting for the trip itself – Anxiety waiting for the trip may trigger many types of emotional difficulties in a child. Often, this anxiety lasts for days before the trip, making it hard for a child to feel comfortable at the dentist office.
  • Sitting in the office with other people – Social anxiety makes sitting in the office very hard for some children, as they may feel forced to be around and interact with people they don’t know, even if they don’t have to talk to them directly.
  • Missing school – Though many children enjoy missing school due to a dental visit, others may miss out on spending time with friends or doing their homework. As a result, they may resent these trips and end up disliking their technician.
  • The sound of the tools as they operate – Dental instruments possess a very loud and somewhat frightening sound to many children. As a result, some children may struggle to feel comfortable as these tools run, even when they don’t cause any pain or suffering.

Children experiencing this confusion, anxiety, and fear need parents who understand what is happening and know how to handle it for their child’s needs. Thankfully, there are many steps that you can take to ensure that your child isn’t suffering from unnecessary dentist fear.

Managing This Issue

As a parent, you provide your child with strength and support when they suffer. Don’t just tell them to “suck it up” when they’re afraid. They need you to understand them and work with them on their level. As a result, there are many steps to take that can help your child:

  • Talk to them first – Make sure that you talk to your children about their fears to make it easier for them to open up about them and answer all their questions honestly and honestly.
  • Discuss dental procedures – Be open and honest about this situation – don’t try to say that it “won’t hurt” because your child will react poorly if you lie to them.
  • Meet with your dentist – Talk to your child with their dental care professional before their visit and let them interact with them in a neutral environment, such as at a restaurant or a park.
  • Get treatments simultaneously – Get dental care when your children do so that you’re there to give them support if they need it, including the same types of care if you need it at the time.
  • Consider pain-free dental care – Many types of dental professionals use pain-free techniques, including sedation dentistry, to decrease a child’s fear of their treatment and make their care more comfortable to handle.

Often, dentist fear goes away as a child gets older and acclimates to their treatment. However, it is essential to remember that some children may struggle with anxiety longer than others. If your child is still having a hard time visiting the dentist into their teen years, you may need to talk to a counselor who can discover the roots of their fears.

We Can Help!

If your child fears their dentist in Cedar Rapids and Marion, Iowa, please contact us at Horton Family Dental right away to get the help you need. Our experts have years of experience working with young children and understand how to help them.

At Horton Family Dental, we build lasting relationships with our patients by taking the time to listen and to develop an understanding of what is important to them.

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