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How to Prevent Dental Anxiety in Children

It is important that children have regular dental checkups, but some children have a very real fear of dentists that can make dental appointments a traumatizing experience. Here are some tips for parents who are dealing with children who have dental anxiety or severe dental phobia:

  • Start dental cleanings at an early age, so the child will be comfortable and familiar with dental appointments and the dentist. Dr. Reese is a family dentist that can grow with the child into adulthood.
  • Enforce good oral hygiene, so trips to the dentist are minimal. This means avoiding sugary drinks and brushing regularly. It also means getting the right nutrition so that teeth can continue to stay strong.
  • Try not to convey your own fears of the dentist to your child. If you are nervous or anxious about going to the dentist, your child may pick up on that and see the dentist as someone to be afraid of.
  • Find a dentist who specializes in working with anxious children to make them feel safe and secure during dental checkups and procedures. Dr. Reese has a comfortable environment for children.

If not addressed during younger years, dental anxiety can develop into severe dental phobia as the child gets older. To prevent tooth decay and gum disease later in life, the above suggestions can work to calm your child's fear of dentists. At Indianapolis Dentistry, our motto is "Calming fears...creating smiles." How can we help you today?

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

"I couldn't even drive to the dentist office without getting stressed out."

Dental anxiety prevents people from seeking proper preventative care. Between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear, estimates Peter Milgrom, DDS, director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of Treating Fearful Dental Patients.

Dr. Reese is specially trained in handling fearful patients with a variety of methods and treatments are available to reduce pain and alleviate fear in the dentist's chair. He goes out of his way to create a nonthreatening environment that is calm and soothing to patients in Indianapolis.

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Many people who experience dental phobia are hesitant when visiting a dentist. They often have a fear of the office, the sounds, the equipment, or the dentist themselves. Various sedation dentistry techniques can be used to treat those who suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia.

People with severe dental phobia are terrified and panic-stricken when it comes time to see the dentist and they often avoid the dental appointment completely. If you're afraid of the dentist and are avoiding treatment, know that there is a way to overcome dental anxiety to help calm your fears.

Southport Indiana Sedation Dentist

This is a guest blog post by our web design and IT guy, Erich Stauffer. Southport Indiana Sedation Dentist

I grew up in the Southport area off McFarland and Southport road. I used to go swimming at the Baxter YMCA and shop at Cub Foods with my mom.

I remember when the Wal-Mart just down the street from Dr. Reese's office was being built and what it felt like to walk through the store for the first time.

I remember walking to Linder's Laundrymat to buy candy, to the Putt-Putt by Dairy Queen to play arcade games, and to the Taco Bell by Mr. D's to get burritos.

There was a Hook's pharmacy that sold comic books and a newsstand down the way that sold baseball cards. If I was lucky I got to go to the Greenwood mall.

There was no Starbucks or Chick-Fil-A in town then. McFarland Farms was still a farm and not a place to stop and get a Cheeseburger in Paradise.

On Sundays I would go to Cracker Barrel after church and get Momma's Pancake Breakfast. I used to tell my mom, "It fits my stomach perfectly."

But there's one thing I didn't like to do in Southport and that was to go to the dentist. I was scared of the dentist. I still am. That's where Dr. Reese comes in.

I've known Dr. Reese for the last 8 years. I first started working with him at his home when his daughter's computer needed some work so she could use it for school.

Over time I started helping Dr. Reese with his website and eventually with his IT needs at the office. Over that time I've had the chance to witness Dr. Reese in action.

I can tell you from experience that Dr. Reese truly does everything he can to calm your fears. It's not just his bedside manner, the sedation modalities, and his staff - it's all of that.

If you're looking for a sedation dentist who has been around Southport for as long as I have, who is experienced, passionate, and skillful, Dr. Reese is your sedation dentist.


5 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Fear of the Dentist

If you get terrified or overly anxious just thinking about going to the dentist, do not worry you are not alone. Children especially seem to be terrified just at the thought of going to the dentist and fortunately, there are ways to reduce a kid’s fear of the dentist. Dental phobia and dental anxiety are very common among adults and children. Anxiety can lead to postponing a dental check-up or worse, not going to the dentist at all. Between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear, estimates Peter Milgrom, DDS, director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of Treating Fearful Dental Patients. A higher percentage, perhaps 20%, experiences enough anxiety that they will go to the dentist only when absolutely necessary. There are patients who only go when their teeth problems have gone from bad to worse and no intervention can be done already other than surgery or extraction.

5 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Fear of the Dentist Dr. Reese has given assurance through an open letter on how he takes great effort to connect with patients and make them comfortable before performing any procedure. His clinic, Indianapolis Dentistry, also goes the extra mile to eliminate any factors that can contribute to a patient’s anxiety.

If a Father Fears the Dentist, His Children Follow Suit

Studies now show that children who fear going to the dentist actually inherit this trait from their parents.

Scientists at Spain’s Rey Juan Carlos University studied 183 children in Madrid, age 7 to 12, along with their parents, and found that fear levels among mothers, fathers and their kids are interconnected. The researchers found that fathers play a pivotal role when it comes to those fears being transferred from mothers to their children, since dads act as a key mediating factor.

“Although the results should be interpreted with due caution, children seem to mainly pay attention to the emotional reactions of the fathers when deciding if situations at the dentist are potentially stressful,” said researcher America Lara Sacido, writing in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry.

The authors conclude that getting kids not to dread the dentist’s chair means involving mothers and fathers in fear prevention, and making sure dads come to the dentist with their children and show no signs of fear or nervousness.

5 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Fear of the Dentist

Now that we have identified the importance of a parent’s role in reducing their children’s fear of the dentist, here are ways to ensure we stay on the right track:

Be a role model to your children.

Children are very intuitive. They easily pick up any negative feelings like anxiety you feel whenever you talk about going to the dentist. Avoid talk sharing negative dental stories from your own childhood. Worse, do not scare or threaten your children using the dentist. As a role model, you can take them with you whenever you have a dental check-up. When they see you comfortable, calm and not afraid of the dentist, they most likely will feel the same way when it’s their turn.

Be honest with your children.

Don’t falsely reassure your children that the check-up will be pain-free. It is important to tell them the truth and set their expectation but do this matter of factly. Tell them how a procedure is done and avoid inserting any possible emotions into the conversation. Tell it like telling a fact – like how leaves fall from trees when Fall season starts or how they need to follow instructions from their teachers.

Be consistent.

It is always a great idea to go to the dentist even when there aren’t any dental problems. In fact, dental care should start as early as possible. By making dental check-ups routine and consistent, children would most likely see it as customary and ordinary, just like going to school or to church.

Reassure your children, but don’t interfere during dental procedures.

Dentists usually assess parents if they will add to the agitation of the child during a dental procedure before letting them inside the room. Be a silent observer and let your dentist build rapport and explain the procedure. Practice positive reinforcement, praising and rewarding your child for behavior that helps procedures go smoothly. Avoid showing any facial expressions that show you are worried about your child.

Consider sedation options.

There are dental procedures that will require the full cooperation of your child. If anxiety is a big issue, there are different sedation techniques available in the clinic that are safely practiced and enforced by Dr. Reese, a sedation dentist. Dr. Reese will be more than happy to explain to you what are the different options for your child and recommend the safest one.

Choose Indianapolis Dentistry Clinic for an Anxiety-Free Dental Check-up for Your Child.

At Indianapolis Dentistry in Greenwood, IN (near downtown Indianapolis), our number one goal is to provide you with stress-free, quality dental care. There are major consequences to skipping dental visits! Avoiding dental visits means you are missing a chance to identify and treat dental problems well before they become major health issues.

Dr. Ted Reese is an Indianapolis dentist who does pediatric cleanings (kids get a toy and a special bag with their own toothbrush and toothpaste) to prevent cavities, frenectomies for children with tongue or lip ties, and traditional or ceramic braces for teens and pre-teens. He practices minimally-invasive dentistry to make it as pain-free as possible (there are also various sedation modalities that can be used) for your child.

Again, our number one goal is to provide you with gentle, quality dental care. Please feel free to call us today at 317-882-0228 to make an appointment!

Dealing with Dental Anxiety

For some people, visiting the dentist can be a stressful experience. It is estimated that 35 million adults experience anxiety at the thought of an upcoming dental visit-and they end up postponing their appointment. At Indianapolis Dentistry, we want to assure you that we understand this anxiety and we're here to make your visit as calm and pleasant as possible. Here are a few tips to help you relax before and after a dental treatment:

  • Tell your dentist and the dental staff you feel fearful, tense or anxious. Bringing your fears out into the open can help your dentist tailor the treatment and pace to suit your needs.
  • Try to schedule your dental visit for a time when you won't be rushed or physically strained. You may find an early morning appointment is less stressful than rushing to see the dentist directly after work.
  • Get a good night's sleep the night before and eat light meals the day of your appointment.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothes to your dental appointment. Avoid wearing tight collars or clothes that will restrict your movement.
  • Arrange a signal ahead of time with the dental staff - such as raising your hand - to indicate you are feeling discomfort or need a break from a procedure.
  • Listen to music during your treatment (we provide headphones).
  • Try visualization-focusing on a relaxing scene from a favorite vacation spot and keeping it in your "mind's eye" during the visit.
  • Tell Dr. Reese about medications that are available to help create more relaxed, comfortable dental visits.

We also have several different types of sedation dentistry that may help you stay calm or even forget your dental procedure completely. The type of procedure, your overall health, history of allergies and your anxiety level are considered when determining which approach is best for your particular case. Again, our number one goal is to provide you with gentle, quality dental care. Please feel free to call us today at 317-882-0228 to make an appointment!

Dental Phobia?

Are you afraid of the dentist? You're not alone! It is estimated that nearly 35 million adults are anxious about visiting and dentist and consequently, postpone their appointment. Don't let anxiety get in the way of a healthy smile! Read our testimonials from our patients. One patient was "terrified of dental work", but said we "were comforting and never once made me feel bad." Another patient who was self-described as "a severe dental phobic" said, "Dr. Reese and his staff were very understanding, supportive and genuinely concerned about my dental experiences and health." We want all of our patients to feel that way so we compiled a list of some tips to make your dental experience more comfortable and minimize nervousness: 

1. Don't be uncomfortable telling Dr. Reese or our staff that you are nervous or anxious! It may also be a good idea to arrange a signal with the dental staff (such as raising your hand) to indicate when you are uncomfortable or need them to stop. That way you are in control of your visit!

2. Try to schedule your appointment during a time when you're not in a rush or under mental/physical strain.

3. Get a good night's sleep the day before you appointment.

4. Wear loose and comfortable clothes. - Tight clothes will restrict your movement and make you uncomfortable and agitated.

5. Ask for one of Indianapolis Dentistry's pre-programmed iPods to help you relax!

6. Call our office ahead of time and ask about our multiple sedation options. Sedation Dentistry will allow you to sleep/relax through your appointment and wake up refreshed with little to no memory of your appointment.

7. Ask about Laser Dentistry! Unlike needle and drill dentistry, our Waterlase MD™ laser can perform many traditional dental procedures with fewer shots, less anesthesia, and in many cases, without pain. Waterlase uses a unique combination of laser energy and water to provide gentler, more precise treatment that conserves healthy tooth structure, and minimizes pain and discomfort. In addition, procedures that once took several appointments to complete, such as multiple fillings, can now be finished in just one visit.

At Indianapolis Dentistry in Greenwood, IN (near downtown Indianapolis), our number one goal is to provide you with stress-free, quality dental care.

REMEMBER... There are major consequences to skipping dental visits! Avoiding dental visits means you are missing a chance to identify and treat dental problems well before they become major health issues. Diagnostic testing, oral cancer screening, x-rays, cleanings can all go a long way to ensuring your dental health through preventative care.

Stop postponing your health! Call Indianapolis Dentistry today at 317-882-0228 to schedule an appointment!