Stress-Relief Interventions For Pediatric Dental Anxiety

If your child becomes anxious even at the children's dental office, then the practitioner may be unable to effectively complete the treatment. While a pediatric dental staff is experienced in calming a child's fear of the dentist, there are some strategies you should consider before your child's appointment. Here are some things you can do at home to help reduce your child's anxiety before they get into the dentist's chair.

Nutritional Intervention 

Nutritional deficiencies are not uncommon in children because kids are often picky eaters. If your child is deficient in essential vitamins, minerals, and protein, he or she may be more prone to anxiety, including the anxiety that develops in new or unfamiliar situations.

If your child does not have a robust appetite, talk to a pediatrician about taking an over-the-counter vitamin and mineral supplement. This will help ensure that your child receives his or her recommended daily allowances for vitamins.

Also, be sure your child consumes enough lean protein such as fresh fish, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which also may help keep your child anxiety-free when in the dental chair. Nutritional deficiencies can also cause dental problems such as gingivitis, gum hyperplasia, and cavities. Children who are well-nourished have healthier mouths and need to spend less time at the dentist. 

Promote Physical Activity

Before your child's dental appointment, suggest that he or she take a short walk outdoors. This will help calm their nerves while promoting feelings of well-being. Aerobic activity promotes the release of endorphins, also known as "feel good hormones."

After an exercise session, feelings of well-being last for hours, and if you time it correctly, your child will stay cool, calm, and collected, during the entire dental appointment. To augment the calming effects of your child's exercise session, the dental staff may offer the pediatric patient earphones for listening to music or allow the child to watch a movie during the appointment. 

If your child is anxious at the thought of going to the dentist, alert the staff prior to his or her appointment. The staff will then be well-prepared to intervene if an anxiety episode occurs while the child is receiving treatment. In addition to the above interventions, reassuring your child prior to the dental appointment will also help calm any fears or apprehension that they may have as a result of going to the dentist. Children's dentists don't need to be scary.