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Understanding Your Child’s Fear Of The Dentist, Part One

Young girl laying awake in bed - Pediatric Dentist in Henderson ad Las Vegas NV

Being a parent isn’t always easy. In fact, 99.9% of the time it’s anything but easy. To be clear, the best things in life are usually take some work to get there, and raising children is no different. All the same, we want to take a moment to shout out all of the amazing parents out there who often go unrecognized. They go about their business, putting their children’s needs and wants before all else, rarely giving their own needs a second thought.

If you’ve made your way to this blog, that probably means you’re a parent who doesn’t have a ton of time on their hands — so we will dispense with the pleasantries and get down to business. Anthem Pediatric Dentistry is your choice in children’s dentists in Las Vegas and Henderson.

With two convenient locations in Henderson and Charleston, we are a great choice if you are looking for a Las Vegas kid’s dentist for no other reasons than 1) we care, a lot, and 2) we are experts at what we do. We treat your children as if they were our own. Children who might be fearful, anxious, or have other special health care needs, should always be treated with the utmost in patience and kindness. We don’t think of these kinds of challenges as inconveniences, but rather that each fearful patient is an opportunity to change a mind about going to see the dentist. When you walk through our doors, you’ll notice our dental office is inviting, modern, child-friendly (fun), and clean.

If you are wondering about how your child will respond to their first visit to the dentist, or if you already know they have anxiety about getting their teeth examined, consider the following reasons to choose Anthem Pediatric Dentistry in Las Vegas!

  • Parents are ALWAYS welcome to stay with their child at every dental visit.
  • We will answer all your questions regarding your dental insurance and provide accurate estimates with no surprises.
  • Treating children requires patience! We promise we will always deliver your child’s dental care in a caring, safe manner.
  • Once you are an established patient at Anthem Pediatric Dentistry, emergency care is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • We will be honest with you concerning your child’s dental health and want you to feel comfortable discussing the various options in treating your child. Anthem Pediatric Dentistry offers many options to help children receive dental care, including laughing gas, oral conscious sedation, and general anesthesia. We want your child to be happy and cavity-free!
  • We pride ourselves on being the PREMIER pediatric dental office here in the Las Vegas Valley. From our specially trained staff to the design of our practice, we aim to be the top pediatric dentist in Las Vegas and beyond!

How Common Is Dental Phobia?

Before we start offering up some tips as to how you can help your child overcome their fear of the dentist, it’s important to understand that your child is far from being alone in their feelings. You see, fear of the dentist is quite widespread — and not just among children either. According to the American Association of Endodontists, some 80 percent of American residents report some level of anxiety when visiting the dentist.

Between five and ten percent of American adults suffer from dental phobia, and according to the study “Prevalence of dental anxiety in 10-14 years old children and its implications“, Mayank Kakkar (et al) found that 42 percent of children ages 10-14 experienced dental fear of some sort. “Scores were highest on “injections” followed by “dentist drill” and “feeling of choking”. Children were significantly less anxious about items of dental treatment if they had experienced that particular form of treatment. Female participants were found to be more dentally anxious than the male participants.

The good news, however, is that the data showed that, while dental fear is certainly prevalent among this age group of children, dental fear scores decreased as age and experience increased. For parents who have children who’ve been experiencing dental fear for some time now, you hopefully can find solace in this research article published in the US National Library of Medicine.

What Can Parents Do To Help Their Kids With Dental Fear?

The first thing you might be able to do is to understand and accept that it’s completely normal for children and adults to have fears about seeing their dentist. However, that doesn’t make the fear entirely rational. Sure, there might have been a severely negative experience from which your child’s fears were born out of, but in most cases the consternation isn’t so linear or logical.

The fear is likely to be much like their other fears, if they are young. If your child is afraid of monsters under their bed, you turn the light on before you both take a look to show that there is nothing there. If they are afraid of swimming, you (gradually) introduce them to kiddie pools, then the shallow end, then bigger pools, and then once they are comfortable, perhaps the ocean.

What’s the common thread? To overcome fear, you have to name the fear and shine light on it for what it is. Once it’s no longer in the dark, it doesn’t look so bad. In the same way, we’d argue that the best (and maybe only) way that you’ll be able to help your child get over their fear of the dentist is to take them to the dentist.

Of course, it matters immensely which dentist you end up choosing, as not all family dentistries are created equally. That’s exactly why we started off today’s blog (after our brief ode to parents) with a self-shout-out about our qualities as a Las Vegas family dentist! We want you to know that you can count on us to provide comforting, thorough, and kind dental services for children.


Stay Tuned For Part Two

To be clear, today’s blog is only scratching the surface of what we have to say on the matter of dental fear in children. That’s why we’ve decided to turn today’s blog topic into a two-part series. In part one, we’ve laid the groundwork for the discussion. In part two, we’ll take the opportunity to offer up our two cents on the role parents should consider taking before the visit, during the visit, and after the dental exam.

If you don’t have time to wait for our next blog, just give us a call if you have any questions! We’d love to hear from you and make sure that your child will receive the best dental care in Las Vegas! Reach out to us today.

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