Overcoming Dental Anxiety

A small girl with curly hair hides her face behind her hands.
Kids shouldn’t be scared of the dentist.

Bad experiences at the dentist aren’t okay.

Dentists have long been associated with fear and pain. But finding the right dentist can go a long way to alleviate any dental anxiety that you or your child may have. We understand that kids and parents may have negative feelings about a dentist visit, but we are committed to making each and every patient comfortable. Don’t settle for a dentist who doesn’t make your child’s feelings a priority.

We’ve complied a list of our recommendations for parents who want to put their child at ease about going to the dentist.

Don’t use the dentist as a threat.

When you tell your child that the dentist is a scary place they will have to go if they don’t brush their teeth or eat too much candy, you’re actually teaching them to fear the dentist. Yes, we want to encourage good dental habits, but using the dentist as a boogeyman is counter productive.

Instead, do teach your child about the dentist in a positive way. We have a list of books that are good to read with your child. We also share resources on our Facebook and other social media accounts, so be sure to check those out for ideas.

Do stay with your child to make them feel comfortable.

All kids are different and sometimes just being separated from a parent at the dentist can make the whole experience seem scary. We also don’t want parents to be unsure about what’s happening with their child. At Super Kids Austin, we encourage parents to come back with their child during appointments. We have space for families to sit to help make everyone comfortable.

However, if you do stay with your child, please don’t use words like “needle,” “shot,” or “drill.” We use child-friendly words to explain what we are doing. We encourage parents to ask questions, but ask them to avoid comments that may frighten the child.

Don’t transfer your dental anxiety to your child.

Sometimes, a parent has had a difficult history with their own oral health. It’s important that children don’t sense the parent’s worries because it will cause their fear to escalate. The more fear we feel, the more pain we perceive. So it’s important that patients don’t start feeling fear before they’ve even entered the door to our office.

If you have specific questions or concerns that you’d like to discuss, Dr. Asha is happy to have a separate conversation with you while your child is playing in the waiting area.

Don’t worry about judgement.

We are moms too and we understand that it’s not always possible to achieve the ideal all the time. We are here to help, not criticize your parenting! If you or your child struggle with any aspect of dental health, let us know and we can talk about possible solutions that work for your family. As parents, there’s a good chance we’ve dealt with the same thing in our own kids.

At Super Kids Austin, our goal is to create a good foundation for a lifetime of oral health. We explain and show kids what we’re doing in a way that isn’t threatening or scary. We have created a welcoming office that includes toys, WiFi, and streaming TV and movies.

Sometime we treat patients who have had a bad experience with a previous dentist or who have other special needs. If this is the case with your child, please let us know and we can accommodate them. We do offer oral sedation in the office and complete sedation at the hospital for individuals who need them. However, we do not rely on these interventions unless they are necessary and will benefit your child.