What To Do If Your Child is Scared of the Dentist

Any pediatric dentist in Calgary has seen first-hand how scared some children get about the dentist. It can leave many parents at a loss for what to do to quell their child’s dental anxiety. Thankfully, there are ways you can help ease your child’s fears before your next visit. 

See what you can do here!

Understanding Children’s Dental Anxiety from a Pediatric Dentist in Calgary

What is Dental Anxiety?

Adults and children alike can experience dental anxiety. Yet, what exactly is it? For children, dental anxiety is the crippling feeling of either fear, anxiety, or nervousness at the thought of a dental appointment. These feelings can potentially turn into odontophobia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), odontophobia is the fear of the dentist and is a real phobia that can develop if left unaddressed. That said, there are various reasons for dental anxiety in children. In this case, you must get to the root of your child’s fear of the dentist and see how you can quell their anxieties surrounding it. 

Reasons for Dental Anxiety 

Not all children’s reason for dental anxiety is the same. Their fear can stem from plenty of places. Here are a few reasons why a child might be afraid of a dentist:

A Bad Experience

If your child’s first experience at a previous dentist wasn’t great, it could have them scared to go for another dental visit. Furthermore, if a child only hears about others’ bad dental visits, they will naturally develop that fear. For children’s first time at the dentist, they’re already afraid of the unknown – best not to add more nightmare fuel to their imaginations with talk like that. 

Unfriendly Environment

For some children, the smells and sounds of a dental office can seem overwhelming. Most notably, it can be an issue for children with special needs or who have sensory problems. A harsh clinical environment can leave them afraid, and even how dentists dress and conduct themselves can seem frightening to a child. In addition, some can become adverse to the dentist if they feel embarrassed about their teeth’ condition.

Scary Procedures

Mostly, what is involved in a dental procedure can scare children. A common culprit of dental anxiety stems from needles since children worry about the pain. Others fear the sound of drills or have difficulty breathing or gagging during a dental procedure. Also, some sensitive children can become scared of seeing blood if they see one during a procedure.  

A Solution to Dental Anxiety 

Thankfully, there is a solution for dental anxiety. If your child was having issues with the dentist’s clinic, you might consider having them see a pediatric dentist instead. 

Pediatric dentistry specialises in children’s oral care. They’re more than qualified as they can make a dental visit seem more fun rather than scary. They can communicate with children to understand their fear and find ways to ease them, along with giving you tips as a parent on what to do too.

Furthermore, a pediatric dental clinic is more welcoming than your typical dentist. They’re usually colourful and kid-friendly by providing toys to keep them from stewing in anxiety. And lastly, more visits will also help normalise them so they won’t be scared anymore. 

Visiting a dentist shouldn’t be a scary experience for children, and Happy Trails Children’s Dentistry is here to make sure that children feel safe and excited for their regular checkups. Happy Trails is a professional pediatric dentistry proudly serving south Calgary, and we have a goal of creating an inviting and comfortable space for children to receive the best care available. With our fantastic dentist, Dr. Sam, our young patients of Calgary will always have a positive dental experience!

When Should I Take My Kid to the Dentist?

An infant’s smile is utterly heart-melting and wholesome. For a new parent, you want to ensure their smile remains not only cute but also healthy as well. However, you might be asking yourself: when is the best time to take my child to a dental visit?

Learn when you should take your child, so you can book an appointment with a pediatric dentist in Calgary to help your little one’s oral health for years to come! 

Little boy sitting on a dentist’s chair.

The Right Time for a Dental Visit

A child’s growth makes every development a milestone – like the appearance of their first tooth! 

If you noticed a single pearly white tooth, you should take that as an indication to set up a dental appointment for your infant. According to the Canadian Dental Association, it’s recommended infants get assessed by a dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth or by one year of age. 

You might wonder why an infant needs a dental visit so early, but there are good reasons for it! 

Namely, one of the most important reasons is to have your child visit the dentist before there is a problem with their teeth. Since children grow rapidly, it’s best to schedule dental exams every six months, so it’s easier for your child’s dentist to catch any minor oral issues early and give advice on their oral care. 

Plus, introducing your child early to a dental environment helps build good dental habits that will remain as they grow up. 

How to Prepare for First Dental Visit

Before you see a dentist, you want to ensure that you’re going to the right one for your child’s oral care. You want to find a dentist that specializes in pediatric dentistry in Calgary in particular. 

A general dentist’s office can handle children, but not to the same standards as a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have extensive additional training in the development, anatomy and conditions that are specific to infants, children, and adolescents (including children with special needs). With a pediatric dentist, you can ensure you’re getting the best care while they provide a child-friendly environment.

In which case, how do you prepare for a pediatric dentist appointment?

If you’re taking your infant for the first time, you can start by coming up with a list of questions you have about practicing good oral hygiene for your baby. In this way, you can ensure you’re properly maintaining your infant’s oral health. 

Also, another good thing to consider is doing paperwork before the appointment so you’re not stuck in the waiting room for too long. 

However, if your child’s dental visit is at a later age, you can help them adjust to the experience by showing them dental visit videos. It can help your child grasp what to expect without feeling anxious about it.

What the First Dental Visit Looks Like

The first appointment with a pediatric dentist allows you to be with your infant or child in the room. Pediatric dentists are adept at helping to soothe a child and make them feel comfortable first before performing a routine examination. You can expect them to look for signs of tooth decay by checking your child’s gums, jaw, and bite for frenum issues or other issues that may affect teeth or speech patterns. Once done, your pediatric dentist will clean your child’s gums and teeth before concluding with ways to support their oral care and address any questions you might have. 

Visiting a dentist shouldn’t be a scary experience for children, and Happy Trails Children’s Dentistry is here to make sure that children feel safe and excited for their regular checkups. Happy Trails is a professional pediatric dentistry proudly serving south Calgary, and we have a goal of creating an inviting and comfortable space for children to receive the best care available. With our fantastic dentist, Dr. Sam, our young patients of Calgary will always have a positive dental experience!

What Age to Start Flossing?

Beyond brushing, any pediatric dentist in Calgary can tell you that flossing is important in ensuring a child’s oral health. However, some parents can get stumped on when to introduce flossing into their child’s oral hygiene routine. 

Learn what age is the best to start flossing, so you are equipped to teach your child how to keep cavities at bay effectively! 

Flossing & Your Child’s Oral Health

Teaching your child to floss should be an integral part of their oral hygiene routine. 

When your child doesn’t start flossing, it leads to bad breath and potentially to developing cavities. Through flossing, your child can effectively remove any plaque from hard-to-reach places between their teeth and under the gums. These efforts help to prevent tartar build-up that leads to tooth decay. 

That’s why it’s important to floss alongside brushing. Brushing daily and properly isn’t enough since it can’t reach certain crevices in your child’s mouth. Only by using them in tandem with one another can your child ensure their teeth are bright and healthy!

 

The Right Age to Start Flossing

Most might assume you need to wait a while before starting to floss your child’s teeth. Yet, many would be surprised that it starts rather early like it is with brushing in its own way. 

It would be best if you began flossing when your child has two teeth that touch. You can expect to be when they’re around the ages of two or three. However, you don’t need to worry about flossing if they’re younger than that. 

For the most part, parents should teach and guide their children on how to floss properly up until they’re around eight to ten years old, when they should be able to do so independently. 

 

Helping Your Child to Floss

It’s no secret that adults aren’t the best at flossing. But, it doesn’t mean your child needs to grow up being one of those adults. By teaching them how to floss early and properly, you can seamlessly instill this into your child’s oral routine.

Try to frame flossing and brushing as two things that need each other to help get their smiles nice and bright! For example, a knight (your child) won’t go into battle with a dragon (stubborn plaque) without their sword (toothbrush) and shield (floss), right? Explaining it in a fun way that they can understand will have your kids keener on getting into the habit of flossing by enforcing its importance.

Ensure you lead by example to your child by teaching them how to floss regularly and properly. Show them by having them loop their floss along each tooth’s sides and gently move it up and down. The idea is to clean spots their toothbrush missed, like in between their teeth. However, be mindful of them just pulling the floss back and forth because it can irritate the gum line.

 

Visiting a dentist shouldn’t be a scary experience for children, and Happy Trails Children’s Dentistry is here to make sure that children feel safe and excited for their regular checkups. Happy Trails is a professional pediatric dentistry proudly serving south Calgary, and we have a goal of creating an inviting and comfortable space for children to receive the best care available. With our fantastic dentist, Dr. Sam, our young patients of Calgary will always have a positive dental experience! 

The Importance of Kids Brushing Every Day

Getting your child to brush their teeth daily can feel as difficult as pulling teeth sometimes! 

Any pediatric dentist in Calgary is all-too-familiar with this issue that parents have. Thankfully, there are ways for parents to encourage their kids to brush their teeth without fuss.

When you thoroughly understand why your kids need to brush their teeth daily, you can easily communicate it so that your children can understand and make it easier to have them brush those pearly whites! 

Best Age to Start Brushing

A common question from parents is this: “What should my child start brushing?” Many parents would be surprised to know it’s after seeing their first tooth! A child’s first tooth will typically appear when they’re still an infant at around six months old. 

You will be responsible for maintaining their oral health as an infant until they’re around three years old. According to Alberta Health, children should be brushing their own teeth every morning and night by age 4. Parents should gradually introduce fluoride to their brushing routine as they supervise and check their kids’ brushing for proper cleaning. 

Once they’re eight years old, they should be able to brush on their own without your help and supervision. 

 

Why Kids’ Oral Health Matters

The fundamental importance of having your kids brush their teeth daily is to help instill it as a healthy habit. Practicing good oral care early every day can help prevent your kids from developing any future tooth decay like cavities.

Children and adults alike can grow habits through consistency, which easily applies to teaching your child to brush their teeth. When you introduce good oral care daily to your kids early, they can effectively integrate it into their daily morning and evening routine. 

 

How to Get the Kids into Brushing

Kids are incredibly impressionable and easily emulate their parents. If your child sees you don’t brush, it will be harder to convince them that brushing is important. From a child’s perspective, they think: “If mom and dad don’t brush, why do I have to do so?” So, set an example by brushing your teeth daily as well!

Additionally, you can find fun, creative ways to help get your little ones into brushing their teeth every day. 

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Simply brushing together (i.e. copying you)
  • Make a game out of it (i.e. brushing all teeth properly at a set time)
  • Positive affirmations after brushing
  • Watch an engaging video on oral health and brushing
  • Have a reward system after brushing 

These are just a few ways to motivate your kids to brush their teeth daily. You know your child best about what they might find fun. So, try to appeal to them in this way that helps to encourage consistent oral care for them every day. 

 

Visiting a dentist shouldn’t be a scary experience for children, and Happy Trails Children’s Dentistry is here to make sure that children feel safe and excited for their regular checkups. Happy Trails is a professional pediatric dentistry proudly serving south Calgary, and we have a goal of creating an inviting and comfortable space for children to receive the best care available. With our fantastic dentist, Dr. Sam, our young patients of Calgary will always have a positive dental experience!