How Do Dentist Office Toys Help Reduce Fear In Children?
One of the recurring issues among pediatric patients still is dental fear and anxiety that can set in due to numerous factors. But nowadays, we hear fewer war stories regarding dental appointments and more about pleasant experiences that are tailored in a way to encourage a patient to come back for another visit. The same goes for pediatric dental clinics where staff is bound to continuously invent creative strategies to approach the little ones. In their day-to-day challenges, they resort to contemporary educational tools and toys that help children overcome their darkest dental fears. Dentist office toys have proven to yield some excellent results, and we talk more about it below.
What is Dental Fear and Anxiety (DFA)?
One of the many definitions of dental fear and anxiety describes them as strong negative feelings associated with dental treatment. Kids with this condition will often try to avoid dental treatments by any means necessary, which can severely affect their dental health, setting a scene for faster tooth decay. They are also less willing to cooperate with their dentist during dental visits, which is directly related to the disappointing treatment outcomes. These children are also at greater odds at carrying on with this kind of behavior in their adulthood, which can ultimately lead to partial or total dental avoidance. That’s why it is so important to treat this condition early on in childhood. There’s a lot of psychological, desensitization, and other tools that dental professionals can use to alleviate DFA symptoms in patients to create a better overall experience for everyone included in dental treatment.
Ways To Allay Anxiety And Fear In Youngest Patients
There are many different strategies to treat children with DFA. These include verbal and non-verbal communication, the use of various anesthetics, and making sure that the overall design of a dental clinic is suitable for children. But the best outcome usually results from a combined approach.
A pediatric dentist certainly has a plethora of tools at their disposal, they should still do their best to build rapport with a patient. Some of the most common verbal methods include an explanation of the treatment, persuasion, and permission-seeking during every step of the treatment, as well as employing negotiation skills and offering reassurance that everything will be okay. Parental presence and support also play a key role here because a child will be more relaxed and feel safe knowing that their carers are by their side. A patient is also encouraged to use various self-help strategies, such as self-reasoning and building a long-term connection with their dental care provider via regular checkups.
The Use Of Dentist Office Toys
The smart and strategic use of dentist office toys has found its use in alleviating stress, anxiety, and fear in children. Macabre, sterile, and empty places that are filled only with sharp professional dental tools are a thing of the past. Pediatric dentists are well aware that little ones enjoy warm and vibrant spaces decorated to fit their age and equipped with various toys to help them take their minds off the impending treatment. At the same time, pediatric dental offices boast drawing boards, gaming consoles, and TVs emitting the program that is suitable for children because they want them to indulge in a relaxing activity to help them remain calm and more willing to cooperate. Premises are usually painted with pleasant colors that convey a positive attitude of a dental practice and wake an adequate emotional response in a child.
The central space in a dentist’s office often showcases various dental puppets which can help a dentist explain to patients the course of an upcoming treatment, step by step (the tell-show-do method). That way, the child will better prepare for it because they will know what to expect from it. A bowl of small, dental-themed rewards is strategically displayed in the most visible place in an office so that children could see it during the treatment. Having their minds on a prize helps keep them focused on what comes after the treatment, and this is a typical use of positive reinforcement.
DFA exists within the youngest patients and the reasons behind it typically include parental fear, fear of the unknown, previous poor dental experiences, and many, many more. The pediatric dentist’s job is challenging on so many levels because they have to use different methods and strategies to create a personalized approach that will fit patients with different DFA levels, and dentist office toys have proven to be a valuable tool in this ongoing fight.
Does your pediatric dentist use dentist office toys in their practice? Do you think it has helped your kid during their dental appointments? We’d really like to hear your opinion below!