By Susan Braden
Fear of dentists plagues many kids around the world, often due to traumatizing past occurrences at the dentist office. A recent study conducted at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, notes that living in a low-income home may have something to do with it. The study found that most children with this anxiety lived with a single parent and had more psychological disorders, and that those who missed appointments saw a psychologist four times as often. Children with this severe dentist phobia have an increased need for discount dental care from gentle, quality dentists.
It is common knowledge that many kids are frightened of the dentist, a condition called odontophobia. For many kids, odontophobia is the result of acute stress due to a previous traumatic experience at the dentist’s office, often if a procedure has gone wrong or was excessively painful. If a child from a low-income family visits a low-quality dentist, the child may have an increased chance of a procedure going wrong.
Another reason that low-income children may have fears of going to the dentist is that many of their parents have the same struggle. Most of the parents in the study who also admitted to suffering from odontophobia would not go with their children to appointments, and so most of the appointments were canceled. Cancelled appointments may result in an even more detrimental cycle – when children do not receive enough dentistry work, their teeth may become worse, resulting in increased pain and fear.
A major way to keep your children from developing this anxiety is to ensure that they do not have bad experiences at the dentist office. Be sure to help your children take good care of their teeth, so that they do not have to go to the dentist for major procedures. Encourage them to brush and floss their teeth regularly, and prep them to get their teeth cleaned every 6 months. You may want to send your child to a pediatric dentist, who specializes in gentle care for children’s teeth, and usually has a fun, kid-friendly office environment.
If money is tight, another way to keep kids from developing this anxiety is to receive quality, discounted dentistry with a discount dental plan. A quality dentist is less likely to make a painful mistake in your child’s mouth. The better the dentist you find, the better the experience that you and your child will have, and the less you both will have to worry about dentist visits.
Childhood fears of dentists can be very legitimate, especially if a child has had a traumatic experience in the dentist’s chair. Even if a parent or child has had a traumatic experience, they should still find safe discount dental treatment and face their fears, for their best oral health and long-term health. To help your children feel most comfortable at the dentist office, start them off with something as simple as a cleaning and checkup before subjecting them to major procedures. Dentist checkups are very important in maintaining your children’s teeth, and they do not have to be scary.