Dental Fear & Anxiety in Kids


Did you know that kids with dental fear and anxiety have a 2.05X greater risk for developing untreated dental caries than kids with little to no fear? Dental fear and anxiety (DFA) is a condition characterized as an excessive amount of anxiety and fear directly related to visiting the dentist and/or receiving dental treatments. DFA often affects daily life and poses a threat to dental health as patients with this condition often prolong or avoid visits to the dentist.

Many kids eventually grow out of this phase of their lives, as they develop stronger coping skills and a greater sense of independence. For some children, this fear and anxiety continues into adulthood. DFA that persists often negatively affects dental health, therefore it is vital to treat it early in childhood.

The American Dental Association currently recommends that children (especially those more vulnerable to dental caries and tooth decay) visit their pediatric dentist every six months. The benefits of visiting the dentist far outweigh the cons, as a professional dental exam will help to prevent dental disease as well as dental caries and tooth decay. In the case that dental ailments are present, your child’s pediatric dentist would then be able to assess the damage and treat it before it worsens.


Treatment for Dental Fear and Anxiety


Parents of children with DFA may feel hopeless and frightened that their kids are not getting proper health care, but treatment is available. Certain pediatric dentists offer inhalation sedation, also known as nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) to help calm young patients’ nerves and provide a stress-free dental experience. Other methods of Dental Fear and Anxiety relief may include the following:

  • Distraction
    • Our pediatric dentist often utilizes distracting handhelds (stress balls, Rubik’s Cubes, fidget spinners) to take her patient’s minds off of what might be triggering their anxious thoughts and feelings.
    • Television shows, movies, and video games are excellent at keeping kids focused on something that reminds them of home, such as a show that they watch at home or a game they play on their free time.
  • Tell-Show-Do
    • This is a method that dentists use with patients that are anxious about not being able to see nor understand what their dentist will be doing to their teeth.
    • A physical model of a child’s mouth is presented in a non-threatening way to show pediatric patients what exactly the dentist will do, followed by an explanation of why it is necessary.
    • Luckily, our pediatric dental office has trained staff that knows exactly how to approach nervous patients and our patients often get excited about coming back to see Dr. Sybil!
  • Outside Help
    • Therapy
      • This involves enlisting a child psychologist to help educate your child on how to use effective coping skills during stressful situations.
    • Psychiatry
      • Visiting a psychiatrist may be helpful if you are open to treating anxious feelings with medication.


Advanced Children’s Dentistry is a premier pediatric dental office in Garden City, NY. We are equipped to treat patients with Dental Fear and Anxiety as well as patients suffering from developmental disabilities. Dr. Sybil is an excellent pediatric dentist who genuinely cares about her patients. She understands how important it is to treat young patients with compassion as well as educate them on their dental hygiene for lasting dental health. Schedule your child’s pediatric dental appointment today at 516-758-KIDS.



Serving: Bethpage, Cold Spring Harbor, Glen Cove, Glen Head, Elmont, Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Hempstead, New Hyde Park, Westbury, Mineola, Farmingdale, Hicksville, East Meadow, Freeport, Valley Stream, Uniondale, Rockville Centre, Manhasset, Syosset, Oceanside, Bellmore, Merrick, Lynbrook, Plainview, Wantagh, Roslyn, Port Washington, Baldwin, Seaford, Jericho, Massapequa, Brookville, Hewlett, East Rockaway, Malverne, Woodbury, Carle Place, Sea Cliff, Sands Point, Locust Valley, Island Park, Williston Park and Woodmere as well as Suffolk County, NY.


Dental Fear

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