General Dental Informtion

Why Are Children Afraid of Dentistry?

scared girl in dentistry surrounded with dental tools

One of the most common reasons for why children are afraid of dentistry is that children never are ready for this big challenge and have no information about it, so they would experience fear and stress when they meet a dentistry clinic.

Sometimes, the fear is rooted in what had been handed down by parents to their children, which is an improper model for children. It is clear that most children would find a negative mentality about dentistry when they see their own parents’ fear and stress facing dentistry, which would affect their unconsciousness negatively.

Another reason for why children would be afraid of dentistry is that a prior painful experience has been transferred to them by another dentist, so they cannot trust their new dentist now, as sometimes they even would be afraid of a simple dentistry clinic.

What is the Difference between Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia?

Anxiety and fear is a normal reaction to feeling, pain or observing something and or losing your control, but phobia is a very severe fear which would remain in people for good and its control and management is very challenging.

This is the case with dentistry, so if children’s fear and anxiety of dentistry is not resolved at a younger age, it will turn into a phobia. Therefore, developing a friendly feeling based on mutual trust must be formed in childhood and family will play a key role in this process, again.

Reasons for Why Children Would Afraid of Dentistry?

There are many reasons for why some children would be afraid of visiting a dentist, but before dealing with them it must be emphasized that this fear and anxiety is something acquired and the kid’s environment plays a key role in its formation. Incorrect and mis-information transferred by their own parents and their friends in the school or kindergarten is often the most common way. Second to that is the previous painful and bitter experience, the general negative effects of the environment, dentistry appliances and tools. Those all are among the most important factors, for why children would be afraid of dentistry. Depending on the child’s previous history including the use of anesthesia, injections, etc may differ as well. These factors would directly or indirectly affect the exposure of children to dentistry.

child who is afraid of dentist

Child who is afraid of dentist

How to Overcome Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist?

Most dentists have a relative knowledge on how to treat children psychologically, which would help them to control children’s anxiety, however, here we will point to some other tips by which dentists can minimize children’s fear and anxiety.

  •  Taking positive strategies to minimize a kid’s anxiety and stress: For instance, when you need to inject a liquid to a kid’s gum, you can move their seat up and down, as they feel that it is a game. It can play as a distraction for children and would help them to overcome their fear and anxiety.
  • To be relax and to control the family’s stress: first of all, it is of importance that parents avoid doing anything which would transfer fear and anxiety to their child and you should know that parent’s perspectives will determine their kid’s behavior.
  • Choosing a proper space: A proper place for dentistry with an appropriate interior design would be very effective in minimizing children’s anxiety. In an ideal condition, children would find the place as exciting and entertaining, which it help them to overcome their fear and anxiety. For example, some dentistry clinics are equipped with a separate room for children where showing cartoons and animations would distract them from pain and teeth and even encourage them to visit there again.
  • Gifts: Sometimes, dentists would develop a positive feeling in children who come to visit them through making them happy by giving gifts and discount coupons for amusement parks.
  • Convincing children to visit a dentist: Another thing which would help children to overcome their anxiety is talking to them. You can convince them about why they need to visit a dentist. It is recommended to start a role play with your kid, in which you can play as a dentist, it would help them to find their fears unreasonable.

How to Prevent Children’s Dental Anxiety?

ا Today, it is highly recommended that families need to ask a dentist to examine their kid’s teeth before their kid experiences any serious problem. These regular periodical dentistry examinations would help your children to feel comfortable and to take a positive view about dentistry; they also help them to make a friendly and trust-based relationship with their dentist. If this recommendation is neglected, your kid may go to the dentist with a lot of pain, as a result of which the dentist has no choice but filling the tooth or sometimes even perform canal root treatment. These types of treatments would develop a negative view and a constant fear of the dentist in your children.

The following tips are recommended for preventing children’s dental anxiety:

  •  Visit a dentist when your kid is very young in order to develop a trust-based relationship between them and their dentist.
  • Regular visits of dentist
  • Making models about oral health for children
  • Reading childish dentistry books and also showing related videos and cartoons
  • Giving education about the importance of tooth brushing to children
  • Using simple and understandable words for children

Why Are Children Afraid of Dentistry FAQ

1. Where is the origin of children’s dental anxiety?

Sometimes watching footage or hearing something from a friend or a relative about their horrible and painful experience of visiting a dentist would stimulate the sense of fear and anxiety in a kid to be afraid of dentistry in general.

2. Is it normal to cry when a kid enters a dentistry clinic?

While visiting a dentist, some kids would show unpleasant reactions, including fainting, sweating, crying or complaining and even panic attacks in some cases, which are often normal.

3. What factors would exacerbate children’s dental anxiety?

The dentistry equipment of a clinic or high-pitched and violent noises of the dentistry appliances, and taking x-ray images would be frightening for young kids.

Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

About Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

Dr. Jamilian, an orthodontist, has a specialized fellowship in orthodontic surgery and maxillofacial abnormalities and is a professor in the orthodontics department of the Dentistry School of the Islamic Azad University. He is member of Iranian and European Board of Orthodontics (EBO) and is a member of the Iranian, American and European Orthodontists Association.

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