Dental anxiety in kids is a real phobia that impacts thousands of children across the country. Estimates suggest that as many as 1 in 5 school age children are afraid of dentists. In some cases, it’s so severe that kids simply refuse to see a dentist for years — making them even more susceptible to oral health problems.
Thankfully, scientists say they may have found a simple solution for childhood dental distress: Cartoons.
Cartoon Watching Calms Dental Fears
In a new study, researchers say watching cartoons through special “video glasses” during a dental treatment can decrease a child’s dental anxiety as well as disruptive behavior.
In the study, children underwent three separate treatment visits involving an oral examination, injection with local anesthetic, and tooth restoration. The researchers measured the vital signs, anxiety levels and cooperative behavior of the children. The kids also rated their own anxiety and pain during each procedure.
Less Anxiety, Better Cooperation in the Dental Chair
Children who watched cartoons during the dental treatments exhibited significantly less anxiety and showed more cooperation than those kids who were not distracted. What’s more, the average pulse rate of children in the control group was significantly higher during the anesthetic injection compared with children in the distraction group.
The authors conclude that audiovisual distraction seems to be a useful technique to calm children and ensure that they can be given the dental treatment they need.
We Can Help Ease Your Child’s Dental Anxiety
Our staff is trained to create a welcoming and secure atmosphere for anxious children. We have many techniques for soothing worries and helping children to feel safe and in control.
We commonly use a method called Tell-Show-Do; we explain the procedure, demonstrate on the child’s hand and then are able to perform the procedure on the child. This reduces anxiety by eliminating the worst fear – which is fear of the unknown. Furthermore, it allows the child to feel like a participant in her or his treatment.
Parents are allowed in our operatories with their children. In some cases, treatment can be enhanced if parents step out of the room, but this will always be at the ultimate discretion of the parent.
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THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.