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Can A Pediatric Dentist Help With Dental Anxiety?

The trip to the dentist is often the most dreaded trip for a large number of children. In some cases, the dental anxiety in a child is so severe that parents let their emotions get in the way  and end up rescheduling or cancelling the dentist's appointment.

As part of their training, pediatric dental practitioners are taught how to deal with patients with dental anxiety. This article discusses various ways through which this is done for the benefit of concerned parents.

Relaxation Techniques

A dental practitioner may recommend various relaxation techniques for a child prior to the dental procedure. Often, pediatric dental practitioners take children through a deep-breathing exercise before commencing treatment. Some practitioners may provide the child with a wand before asking him/her to blow bubbles through it.

For children with a severe case of dental anxiety, dental practitioners often recommend progressive muscle relaxation prior to the procedure. This relaxation technique requires the child to tense and relax each muscle group within the body. The child only has to recline in the dental practitioner's chair and follow their instructions.

Parents can purchase audio tapes that provide step-by-step instructions on how to go about progressive muscle relaxation at home.

Distractive Techniques

Pediatric dental practitioners also use distraction as a strategy to combat dental anxiety in children. Distractive techniques commonly used to beat dental anxiety include giving the child certain tasks as the dentist proceeds with their work. For example, the practitioner may ask the child to count the number of tiles on the office ceiling in a bid to drive the child's attention away from the ongoing procedure.

A pediatric dental practitioner may also engage the child in a conversation about a topic that is of interest to the child in a bid to distract him/her. In a large number of cases, practitioners initiate conversation before the dental procedure because children are often unable to contribute to the conversation during the procedure.

Sedative Techniques

Last but not least, a dental practitioner may recommend the use of sedatives to combat dental anxiety in a young patient. Sedatives for children are often administered orally in the form of a pill.

Sedatives often make children groggy or semi-conscious. Often times, sedated children are able to sleep through the dental procedure.

The level of sedation achieved depends on the quantity of sedative drugs administered to the child.

As is evident from the discussion above, dental anxiety should not be a reason for parents to reschedule or cancel appointments with the pediatric dentist. For more tips, contact a dentist in your area.