How To Help Your Child Face Dental Anxiety

2022-03-09T17:40:31+00:00March 9th, 2022|Children's Health, Dental Anxiety|

Tips for Dental Anxiety

If you remember the anxiety you had in your youth on the way to your dental appointment, you’re not alone. 

A good percentage of kids deal with dental phobia, with studies showing somewhere around a quarter of children will experience that fear at some point.

Still, getting your kids to their dental check-ups is a necessity for maintaining great adolescent health. Thankfully, Adam Brown DDS understands both the importance of check-ups and the need for a comfortable experience for their younger patients. 

 

Tackling Dental Anxiety In Your Child

Addressing any deeply rooted fear your child has can feel like an uphill battle. Whether it’s convincing them that, no, there isn’t a monster under their bed, that the dark hallway won’t be a problem, or that the bug in their room won’t hurt them, you’ll find it hard to convey why there’s no reason for fear. Dental check-ups are not too different.

Here are some creative ways you can tackle that anxiety in preparation for your appointment:

 

Find A Smile That They Already Love

If their grandparent’s smile lights up a room, or maybe a beloved family friend’s grin, your child likely already can identify just how important a beautiful smile is.

Pointing out a role model’s smile is a way to show the importance of dental health in action, a move that can make that dental checkup seem really worth it.

 

Ease Them Into Meeting Their Dentist

Letting them know what they’re about to get into is a key way to ease your child’s concerns. 

You can do this in a few ways: Showing a video of the office space, pictures of the staff, or the more comprehensive option, scheduling an in-person introduction before their appointment. You can contact Adam Brown’s DDS to schedule an early tour prior to your appointment, as a way to ease them into their dental appointment. 

 

Arrive Early

While this may seem like the most simple of the options, it’s an extremely useful one. Getting there early can keep the stress of a rush from showing in your mood, preventing it from rubbing off on your child. That coupled with some time to adjust to the space can prove an effective tool in a stressful situation. 

 

Take An Active Role

As a parent, you can really influence your child’s attitude towards their upcoming dental appointment. Changing the way you talk about dentistry can have a noticeable impact. Avoiding language like pain, needles, blood, or other potentially alarming aspects of dental language can lessen their stress.

In the same vein, altering your language to be something accessible and understandable for your children can help dispel some of the mystery around their appointment. While medical terms may be accurate, the unknowns associated with them can also do more harm than good. 

Role-playing at home can also help mold expectations, a way to make the dental talk fun and involved, for both parent and child. Oftentimes the perception of what the dental appointment will be is the most troubling. Having a quick, pretend run-through is never a bad thing.

 

Reward Them

If your child has some concerns about their dental appointment, completing it can feel like a real achievement. It’s important to find ways to incentivize them to face their fears. A promise to visit their favorite restaurant, park, or another fun spot after the visit is one way to make the appointment seem more promising.

Adam Brown DDS understands the necessity of rewarding good dental habits. Hosting the “Cavity Free Club” as a way to let your kid pick out a fun toy after winning their battle against those pesky early cavities. 

 

Validate but Move On

Validating fears around a necessary medical appointment may seem counterintuitive, but it can help more than just your child’s anxiety.

Your child’s fears are valid and instead of shutting them down, you can take a moment to reassure them. The fear they’re facing is real. Saying something like, “I know a lot of kids are scared of that too,” can make them feel heard.

But after that reassurance, it’s important to move on. Dwelling on comforting against the scary thing can actually make it a bigger cause of concern. Instead, talk about how you’ll work to make them brave and ready to take their dental appointment on.

 

Let Your Dentist Know

Your dentist is the most important partner throughout the whole process. Letting them know about dental anxiety, medical reactions (like fainting or gagging) allows them to provide the most comforting experience possible.

Adam Brown DDS has the necessary knowledge, experience, and professionalism to address dental anxiety and show just how positive an appointment can be.

 

Appointment Times Are Key

Last but not least, the way you schedule your child’s appointment can help tremendously. 

Limiting the time between appointments can help bridge the gap in dental anxiety. Keeping your child out of a dentist’s office for a year or so can do some serious damage to the comfort you’ve built at a dentist’s office.

That time also allows for cavities and other dental problems to crop up, creating a more negative reason for an appointment, which can always create stress. 

 

Why Your Child’s Check-Ups Are Vital

While tackling dental anxiety is one battle, you may be wondering, why are check-ups so important?

Early checkups and a diligent dental routine can not only prevent problems in the immediate future but also create a foundation of healthy hygiene for the rest of their lives.

After all, tooth decay is the most common disease present in children across the United States, with the CDC reporting that more than 40% of children will experience some degree of tooth decay before kindergarten. 

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that every child should visit a dentist by age 1, or as soon as their first tooth shows.

Baby teeth are extremely important, allowing for proper speech development, teeth spacing, and chewing. Having a professional examine their growth can ensure those processes are happening in a healthy and sustainable way.

There are a few other vital benefits too. 

This early head start can make the regular dental appointment more of a part of their life, addressing some of the root causes of dental anxiety. 

It gives ample opportunities to check for systemic health issues. Many diseases can be identified by conditions of the mouth, which can give you some comfort knowing your child is healthy after their checkup.

All of this also creates a smile that your child can have confidence in, a reward that truly extends a lifetime. 

 

Why Adam Brown DDS?

Adam Brown DDS is the perfect dental practice for your children’s dentistry needs. With a practice that looks at patients like family above all else, patients can come to Adam Brown DDS knowing they’ll receive not just a regular appointment but instead comprehensive generational dentistry.

While this blog can convey some of that, the testimonials and before-and-after photos from Adam Brown DDS patients will show the genuine quality you’ll receive. 

And for the potential new customers reading this, they’re offering a New Patient Special for $65, which includes:

– Comprehensive Exam

– Full Dental Assessment

– Oral Cancer Screening

– Perio Evaluation (Gums)

– Evaluation of Jaw & Chewing Muscles

– Recording of Dental History

– X-Ray

– Digital Photos

So if you’re near Monroe and looking for a dentist that can do it all, from conquering dental anxiety, taking care of your child’s needs, or giving you a quality dental experience, Adam Brown DDS is the place for you.

J. Dalton George

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Don’t Wait: Why Adults Should Visit the Dentist Regularly

2021-08-15T01:47:16+00:00August 15th, 2021|Adam Brown DDS, Dental Anxiety|

Adult Dental Anxiety

As a kid, you may have learned the fundamentals of oral hygiene, such as brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and going to dental checkups every six months. Indeed, these practices are essential to maintaining a child’s oral health. But keeping a solid dental routine is just as vital for adults as it is for kids. Among other things, doing so helps you to prevent tooth decay and tooth loss, avoid expensive medical bills, and foster your all-around health and well-being. 

What’s the moral of the story? Don’t outgrow your good dental habits! Below, Adam Brown DDS will discuss some of the best reasons for going to the dentist and practicing consistent oral hygiene as an adult. And we’ll also cover some of the most common adult dental problems, as well as how you can overcome dental anxiety. 

 

Why Go to the Dentist as an Adult? 

So, you know that taking your child to the dentist is important. Let’s discuss why you, an adult, should also make regular visits to your local dentist office:

Maintaining Strong Teeth 

Dentists and dental hygienists have the expertise and equipment necessary to deeply clean your teeth. Even if you brush for two minutes, twice a day at home, you can’t eliminate the hardened plaque and biofilm (a.k.a. calculus) found in your teeth. And that’s especially the case if the calculus is located beneath your gingiva.

Along with following a dental hygiene regimen at home, going to checkups and cleanings at your dentist’s office every six months can help your teeth stay healthier and stronger than if you only use a toothbrush at home. 

It’s well known that adults are more prone to plaque buildup and periodontal disease. Oftentimes, such issues slowly progress and go unnoticed until they’re severe. If you skip your dental visits, gum disease and other problems can go undetected, eventually leading to tooth decay and tooth loss.

Reducing the Likelihood of Expensive Bills

As with other health problems, issues with your teeth and gums will be easier and safer to treat when you catch them early. And that means that you won’t have to spend as much money fixing those problems. For example, say you have a minor cavity. If you allow, even unknowingly, that cavity to keep spreading, it can enter the dental pulp over time and ultimately lead to infection. To put it into perspective: Your $175 filling just turned into a $2,000 root canal and crown, if not a $4,000 implant procedure.

Be proactive about being preventative. Get regular exams at the dentist so that any potential issues are addressed before they turn into emergencies.

Benefitting Your Overall Health

It’s well established that your oral health is strongly linked to your overall health. A number of diseases are often discovered through oral health issues. For instance, pneumonia and endocarditis, as well as pregnancy complications, are sometimes identified when patients come in with a dental problem. In fact, it is recommended that any woman planning to get pregnant should get a dental exam and address any issues as soon as possible. 

Health issues outside of your oral health can also impact your oral health. Heart disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, for instance, tend to leave your body more prone to infection. This, in turn, can cause a variety of oral health problems. You won’t necessarily become diabetic because of poor oral health, but any oral health complications you have could be exacerbated by diabetes. Moreover, going to the dentist regularly can help you foster your mental health by boosting your self-esteem and giving you peace of mind. 

Minimizing Bad Breath

Anyone can have bad breath every now and then. But if you notice that your bad breath has become regular and cannot be mitigated by strong mouthwash or breath mints, you might have something a little more serious going on. 

Enter halitosis—the fancy medical term for chronic bad breath. Factors like dry mouth, leftover food particles, and tobacco use are common causes of halitosis. But severe health issues like sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, and liver or kidney disease can also be the culprit. If you think you might have this problem, it’s advisable to visit the dentist so that you can be examined and determine whether your bad breath is or is not related to your oral health. 

Detecting Oral Cancer Early

We mentioned that going to the dentist is an excellent way to detect tooth and gum problems, and that includes oral cancer. Oral cancer comes with a higher death rate than some other types of cancers, primarily because it frequently goes undiscovered until it is well developed. And with each year you age, your chances of getting oral cancer become higher. 

Don’t rely on yourself to be able to identify oral cancer because it’s almost impossible. Oftentimes, there is no alarming pain or symptoms when oral cancer begins to develop, and it can appear in any area of the mouth and throat. 

A professional dentist or dental hygienist has the education and training necessary to recognize the signs and symptoms of oral cancer early in development. By going to the dentist every six months, you stand a much better chance of detecting the onset of oral cancer.

Increasing Your Self-Confidence

There’s no getting around the fact that straight, white teeth make for a great smile, which can add some major self-confidence. As we’ve said before, brushing and flossing each day can go a long way in maintaining your smile, but going to the dentist is the surest way to get rid of the plaque under your gum line, clean the hard-to-reach places between your teeth, and take care of stains. A deep cleaning, not to mention professional whitening services, will promote a healthier and brighter smile than you can attain by yourself. 

Yes, poor oral health can have a negative impact on your self-confidence. But, like it or not, it can also play a role in how others perceive you. It’s unfortunate, but bad teeth can negatively impact an individual’s personal and professional life. Going to the dentist to correct any dental problems and returning for regular checkups is the best way to keep your oral health in excellent shape. And doing so will inevitably shine through your smile and increase your self-esteem.

Getting Checked for Things You Can’t See

Many people may choose not to go to the dentist every six months because they brush and floss religiously, and their teeth and gums appear to be fine. However, even if everything seems good on the surface, you never know what underlying dental health issues—those which can only be diagnosed by a dentist—are developing in your mouth. Therefore, the safest bet is to attend regular checkups and to get any necessary exams, X-rays, and other simple procedures that can help you stay ahead of potential health issues. 

 

How Age Impacts Your Dental Health 

All of your body’s cells, tissues, and organs are impacted by the aging process. The changes that come with age affect every part of your body, and that includes your teeth and gums. Here are some of the most common dental health issues that adults face:

Cavities

Essentially, cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth that convert sugars and starches into acid. The acid then goes to work at eating away tooth enamel and, thus, cavities form. And these cavities often develop at the tooth’s root because of gum recession. 

Moreover, bacteria build-up occurs more easily if you suffer from dry mouth, which can also lead to tooth decay or tooth loss. There are several reasons older adults are more prone than younger people to get dry mouth. For some, it’s simply because of age. For others, it’s due to particular medications they take. And specific health conditions can lead to dry mouth as well. 

Gum Disease

Dry mouth is a serious condition because of how critical saliva is to oral health. Saliva helps your gums remain healthy and protects your teeth from decay. So, when your mouth is not producing enough saliva, it can put you at risk for a number of issues. Gum disease, tooth decay, mouth sores, thrush, and difficulty chewing, swallowing, and tasting are some of the most common examples.

Dry Mouth

It’s normal for the salivating glands in your mouth to produce less saliva as you progress in age. But dry mouth more often occurs in older adults as a result of medical problems. 

For instance, a wide range of medications can decrease saliva production, including those used to treat pain, depression, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. You can also get dry mouth when undergoing cancer treatment, and many different health conditions (e.g., stroke, diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, etc.) can be the culprit. 

Some of the most common dental health issues that occur in adults have to do with the gums. In the simplest terms, gum recession refers to when your gum tissue begins separating from your tooth; this exposes the root of your tooth and leaves you more vulnerable to bacteria build-up, which can result in inflammation and decay. 

Oral Cancer 

Perhaps the most severe dental health condition is oral cancer, which is most common in individuals over the age of 45 and twice as common in men than women. Lifestyle choices can play a big role in the development of oral cancer. People who smoke and/or use other forms of tobacco are the most susceptible. And people who add excessive drinking into the mix increase their risks even more. 

But those are not the only factors at play. Poor dental and oral hygiene, regularly taking immunosuppressants, and gum damage from rough teeth, fillings, or dentures can also cause cancer. Certain infections like the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) can be a cause as well.

 

Overcoming Dental Anxiety 

It’s no secret that a lot of children dread going to the dentist. But dental anxiety is also common in adults. Rather than allowing your anxiety to keep you from maintaining your oral health, consider this information and advice: 

The Most Common Culprits

There are many reasons why adults struggle with dental anxiety. In most cases, the fear of going to the dentist stems from childhood—usually because of an unpleasant or painful experience that is permanently imprinted on the mind. The good news is that there have been many advances made in dentistry over the last few decades, and most modern dental procedures cause much less pain (if any) than they used to. 

Another common culprit of dental anxiety is the fear of needles. A lot of people hate needles in general, while others are afraid that the anesthesia used in a procedure will not be effective. And sometimes, people are simply scared of being embarrassed. 

Say, for instance, that you’ve been dealing with a toothache for a while and are hesitant to visit the dentist because you’re embarrassed about your teeth or dread receiving bad news. Don’t worry—the team at Adam Brown DDS doesn’t judge or shame anyone!

Practical Steps to Take

If you’re struggling with dental anxiety, the best thing you can do is speak to your dentist. Chances are whatever is causing your anxiety is something that your dentist has heard many times before. And the only way they can help you is if you explain your fear and remain open to their suggestions. 

One thing you can do is to ask your dentist to thoroughly explain each stage of the appointment or procedure at hand so that you can mentally prepare. You could also agree on a stop signal such as raising your index finger or tapping your leg to notify your dentist that you need a break. 

Some individuals cannot stand the drilling or buzzing sounds during a dental procedure. If this is the case with you, consider bringing headphones to your appointment. In severe cases of anxiety, nitrous oxide or IV sedation can be administered; but those options are only chosen when the patient agrees to it. 

 

Conclusion 

The necessity of going to regular dentist visits doesn’t stop when you enter adulthood. The older you get, the more susceptible you become to dental health problems, and visiting the dentist is the surest way to prevent or mitigate them. 

Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from going to the dentist and getting any procedures necessary to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you’re ready to make your next appointment, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact Adam Brown DDS today! 

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