Suppress Dental Fears Before the School Year

With the end of summer approaching, it’s extremely important to make sure kids are ready to return to school with a clean bill of health, and this should not be short of a routine dental clean-up. Once the school year begins, the shuffle of classes, work, dorm-life, and other college distractions make it hard to stay true to even a simple dental check-up.

Some students, especially those that are older and in the working field, tend to put off their dental care needs or ignore them completely. Excuses range from scheduling conflicts to claiming oral health is an unnecessary expense. The truth of the matter is that most of the procrastination comes from fear of the dental chair and fear of the dental bill.

Unpleasant memories that people harbor about going to the dentist as young children seem to be universally common. Years later, they still can’t shake the fear. Worse yet, the rising cost and lack of healthcare seem to make it taboo in the 20-somethings’ generation.

Whatever the reason, it’s easy to understand the fears that develop in childhood. Many have memories of an ominous-looking machine hovering above a way-too-big chair. Someone sticks a sharp instrument into their mouth, while stretched back and tense in an uncomfortable position, with no easy way to escape.

While all of these descriptions are true, it’s easy to turn them around. Anyone can talk about their fears with the dentist ahead of time and ask to have a dental assistant explain what the overhanging machinery does. Raising questions when uncomfortable or scared gives a short break from the dental work that’s under way.


Learn Coping Strategies

Staying away from the dentist is probably the worst way to deal with any fear. Not having regular check-ups increases the chance of tooth decay and other dental problems that will only require more time in the dentist chair and more expense. Making matters worse, your family may be one of many who can’t afford dental insurance or pay the high cost of dental care without it. A Discount Dental Plan is a good option because it offers reduced pricing for many dentistry services.

With worries about the expense aside, face the fears about treatment head-on. Before a dental visit begins, be specific about what is particularly scary to you. If certain tools such as needles are troubling, they can be put out of sight until they are needed during an examination.

There are a number of coping strategies to try as well. Light meditation techniques include breathing deeply and slowly to ease tension while focusing on something completely outside the immediate environment. Some people relax by listening to music on an iPod. Others may distract themselves by constructing a scenario in their minds, such as redesigning a room at home.

Those that have severe fears should talk to their dentist about the kind of sedatives and anesthetics that are available and safe to use, advises WebMD. But if opting for sedation that’s stronger than a local anesthetic, be sure to question the dentist about his or her professional training and experience in working with such materials.


Keep the Kids Calm

To prevent future phobia in children, parents need to be especially careful not to pass their fear of dental work on to their children. Talk calmly to kids about an upcoming visit by describing what they’re likely to see and experience. There are also many children’s books available about making trips to the dentist andactivities to teach the importance of oral hygiene, making the experience sound like it should be part of your child’s normal routine.

At the same time, it’s important to be honest with youngsters. They may experience some discomfort, so it’s best not to promise them that nothing will hurt. But stressing the good health that comes from a visit to the dentist, and praising their patience and good behavior, will help them see it as a positive experience.

While it’s ideal to prevent dental fears in small children, there are still ways teens and young adults are able to overcome their dental fears to ensure a long life of good dental hygiene.


Have you had any children that have overcome their dental years post-adolescence? How did they do it? Let us know below!

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